Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt endorses Trump for president

Hearing from Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett on how to “disagree better,” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt attended the National Governors Association Winter Meeting on Friday after visiting the White House earlier that day. PHOTO: Katrina Crumbacher.

WASHINGTON  – Hours before former president Donald Trump seized victory in the South Carolina Republican primary, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt officially endorsed him for president.

“I think he’s the right person,” Stitt said in an interview on Saturday. “When you see what’s happening with President Biden and all the turmoil that’s happening around the world, we were safer when we had President Trump so I would love to see President Trump get back in for four more years.”

Stitt initially endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president when he made a campaign stop in Tulsa in June 2023. But since DeSantis dropped out of the race after placing a distant second behind Trump in the Iowa Republican Caucus in January, Stitt had yet to endorse an alternative.

In 2020, Stitt endorsed Trump during his reelection campaign, and Trump endorsed Stitt for governor in 2018 and 2022. After Stitt endorsed DeSantis, Trump took to Truth Social to blast the Oklahoma governor.

“Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, who I didn’t know very well, called me before his last election to say he was in BIG trouble and very much needed my Endorsement,” Trump wrote. “I LOVE Oklahoma & won 77 out of 77 Counties, something that never happened before. Ronald Reagan was next with 56. Anyway, I gave him my endorsement, he immediately went way up, and won. Now, despite the fact that DeSanctimonious is losing to Biden, & me, Stitt just endorsed him. Wow! He disliked ‘the Indians’ & my great Senate pick!”

Trump’s post appeared to reference Stitt’s ongoing, combative relationship with the tribes, despite the governor himself being a registered member of the Cherokee Nation.

While on the campaign trail, Trump has influenced policy at the congressional level, most notably in matters of border security. Just days before Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford released in early February the text of his long-awaited bipartisan border package, Trump urged Republicans to reject the border-for-Ukraine deal.

Border security remains at the forefront of gubernatorial minds, as it was the favored topic of discussion when governors flocked en masse to the White House on Friday. Stitt was among them and said in an interview that Democrat and Republican governors alike are concerned about the crisis at the border.

Every year, the National Governors Association hosts a winter meeting in Washington, giving governors from across the country opportunities to meet the president face-to-face. Many Cabinet secretaries were in attendance on Friday including the recently-impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“I think Americans are frustrated with what they see at the southern border,” Stitt said. “Politics sometimes get involved, and they’re saying that they need some more money and Congress to pass some legislation. We believe there’s some tools in the tool belt that the president can certainly use to secure the southern border, and we were encouraging him and Secretary Mayorkas to do that.”

Currently, neither President Joe Biden nor congressional Republicans appear willing to budge on who is responsible for closing the border.

During the governors’ visit to the White House, Biden also touched on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Saturday marked two years to the day since Russian troops and tanks rolled in and missiles started to rain down on some of Ukraine’s most historic cities.

“Look, folks, all kidding aside, history is watching,” Biden said. “The clock is ticking. Brave Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are dying. Russia is taking Ukrainian territory for the first time in many months, but here in America, the Speaker gave the House a two-week vacation. They have to come back. They have to come back and get this done, because failure to support Ukraine in this critical moment will never be forgotten in history. It will be measured, and it will have impact for decades to come.”

As Congress shifts this week to focus on avoiding a partial government shutdown on March 1, the nation’s southern border crisis remains unresolved, and the national security supplemental providing aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan remains unscheduled to be voted on in the House.

With the threat of an imminent government shutdown, it could be weeks before the supplemental is voted on in the House, if it goes to a vote at all.

The day before the Senate passed the supplemental, Speaker Mike Johnson released a statement in response to its impending passage without corresponding border security legislation.

“The mandate of national security supplemental legislation was to secure America’s own border before sending additional foreign aid around the world,” Johnson wrote. “It is what the American people demand and deserve. Now, in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters. America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”

After the Senate passed the supplemental, Lankford issued a statement in opposition, mirroring Johnson’s sentiments.

“Well over 6,000 illegal migrants crossed the southern border yesterday and they will again today, because nothing changed,” he said. “As I said in October 2023 when this all began, I believe we should support our allies, but we cannot secure the borders of other nations while ignoring the massive crisis at our own border.”


Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News, go to

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