Donning a Make America Great Again hat during a stand-up comedy routine does not a Trump endorser make.
Not out of New Jersey Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, at least.
“I'm working very hard to get there,” he told reporters Tuesday at a steakhouse in suburban Cleveland, where he performed standup for an audience of primarily New Jerseyans affiliated with the state's GOP delegation.
The state's delegates are led by Gov. Christie, an early Trump endorser and full-throated defender of the presumptive GOP nominee (and now his family, too).
Christie has said that any Republican not working for Trump is working for Democrat Hillary Clinton, but Bramnick – who has been a consistent supporter of the governor – didn’t seem to accept that premise. “Who sets the rules?” he said Tuesday, noting that he’s “definitely not for” Clinton.
Asked what he’s waiting for, Bramnick said Trump was “new to politics,” and that he’s watching to make sure this week’s convention is “inclusive.”
As for wearing a Trump hat, “there’s reality, and then there’s non-reality. This is non-reality,” said Bramnick, who had put on the hat at the end of a rhyme that included the lines: “This morning I made a call and I asked are you really going to build the wall? / I’m concerned that VP Pence will make you settle for a tiny little fence.”
The part of his routine that was “reality,” Bramnick said, was another statement: “I am thinking about running for governor.” The assemblyman, who has been seen as one of several likely GOP contenders to replace Christie when the governor’s term ends in 2018, said he wasn’t making an official announcement.
But he joked about having to disclose all the “bad stuff” about himself, including a tendency to misspell his last name in text messages.
“Last week a guy comes up to me and says ‘I’ve known you for 30 years,’” Bramnick said. “‘I had no idea that you’re Jon Browndick.’”
Much of his material, though, involved New Jersey – like this advice to the convention delegates. “If a Clevelander says hello to you, say hello back.”