GOP congressman who donated to Obama gets trip on Air Force One

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell became one of the rare members of the Republican Party to join President Barack Obama on Air Force One on Tuesday.

According to FEC records, Rigell donated $1,000 to President Obama during his first run for the White House, and has been vocally supportive of Obama’s calls for increased tax revenue as a part of a sequester deal.

Jason Miyares, Rigell’s senior political advisor noted to The Daily Caller in an email that the congressman’s donation was meant to support Obama over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary. “[A]t the time Scott Rigell was adamant that the Clintons not return to the White House after an 8 year absence,” Miyares wrote.

“In 2008 he was also a maxed out donor to then Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and later maxed out to Senator McCain’s presidential campaign,” Miyares continued, and insisted that despite the appearance of the Obama donation, the lawmaker’s conservative bonafides are sound.

“[A]ccording to Heritage Foundation’s ‘Heritage Action’, Scott Rigell is the most conservative member of the 112th Congress from Virginia,” he said.

Before departing on Air Force One for Newport News, Va. Tuesday, Rigell told reporters that he favored raising tax revenues through reform as well as some cuts to spending as a part of the deal.

Rigell accompanied the president to a speech at Newport News Shipbuilding as Obama continued his campaign against Republicans over the sequester fight.

“I’ve got to give Scott Rigell credit,” Obama said during his speech.  “He is one of your Republican congressmen who’s with us here today — and that’s not always healthy for a Republican, being with me.”

“But the reason he’s doing it is because he knows it’s important to you,” Obama continued. “And he’s asked his colleagues in the House to consider closing tax loopholes instead of letting these automatic cuts go through.  He’s concerned about the deficit, and he’s more than prepared to make some really tough cuts, but he wants to do it in a smart way.

This article has been updated.

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