WASHINGTON — Former Democratic Virginia Sen. Jim Webb won’t say which presidential candidate he voted for, but he has previously ruled out voting for Hillary Clinton and he sounded sympathetic to Donald Trump during a speech Tuesday.
Webb ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination. At an American Conservative event on foreign policy Tuesday he said his run taught him “the power of pay to play and political machines.”
When he started his speech, the former Virginia senator asked, “Who were the so-called deplorable people who repudiated Hillary Clinton’s insult and put Donald Trump over the finish line?”
Sen. Webb then lamented that both parties had “abandoned people in fly-over land.”
He went on to say, “I would like to salute Donald Trump for his tenacity and uniqueness of his campaign.”
Much of Webb’s speech centered around the idea that elites have become out of touch with much of America. The former senator believes this all started with wealthy Americans being able to dodge the Vietnam War draft and feel no moral qualms.
Webb pointed to the 1965 Immigration Act, which got rid of previous immigration quotas, as another thing that hurt America. He said that he supports affirmative action for black Americans, but that this influx of immigrants benefiting from it has been detrimental to poor whites.
Webb added that elites talking loudly about white privilege angers poor whites, and said that they would “hope” that “someone in position of political influence might also see this and agree with you.”
The former Virginia senator said that elites in America still think they are in touch with common people but “nothing has so clearly shown how wrong they are than the recent election than Donald Trump.”
Webb used two recent foreign policy decisions to show how administrations run by both parties have been out of touch with the American people: the Bush administration’s decision to launch the Iraq War and the Obama administration “unilaterally intervening in Libya.” The intervention in Libya was conducted while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and was a policy she championed.
Sen. Webb said that Clinton has been on the wrong side of every foreign policy decision for the past 15 years. In a March interview, he said he wouldn’t support her in the presidential election because, “if you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, you’re going to be getting the same thing.”
In that same interview, he said, “If you’re voting for Donald Trump, you may get something very good or very bad.”
The Daily Caller asked Webb after his speech whether he supported Trump in the presidential election.
“My vote is my business,” he responded.
Webb, the former Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan, was later asked whether he would serve in a Trump administration, the former Virginia senator did not definitively answer this.
Trump won the presidency with the support of 67 percent of white working class voters, and Webb said during his speech, “the Democratic Party unfortunately moved away from working white people.” He added, “It made white working people their most convenient whipping post, particularly white males.”
Webb then shared a story about when he was running for Senate in 2006 and was brought to a training session by the Democratic Party to teach candidates how to reach out to various groups of people. During the training event, Webb and other senators were shown several policies that could be proposed to gain the support of white working class Americans.
Webb said after this presentation, “white working people don’t vote for you, because they don’t think you don’t like them.”