Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez endorsed Hillary Clinton's qualifications for president during an interview aired Sunday, saying the former Cabinet secretary was qualified to be president but that Donald Trump lacked the "make-up" for the job.
"I think Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president of the United States. Obviously there are issues with her, too, in terms of the email scandal and all that," Gimenez told CBS 4's Jim DeFede. "But by and large, she is qualified to be the president of the United States. Donald Trump, I'm not sure he has the make-up to be the president. He says things that tend to divide America, not unite America."
While Gimenez told DeFede he doesn't plan to endorse in the presidential race, the Republican mayor's statements showed him praising the Democratic nominee while criticizing the GOP's candidate. It was the latest installment of Gimenez's delicate maneuvering around the presidential race as the five-year incumbent seeks reelection in the Democratic-heavy fall election.
As mayor, Gimenez met with a top Trump aide in early 2014 about the mogul's interest in taking over management of Miami-Dade's Crandon Park golf course, an idea that began to gel when the mayor and Trump golfed there a few months earlier. Trump's plan to upgrade the course but keep it a county park became public in news reports in early 2015 after Trump, who owns one of Miami-Dade's largest resorts, gave $15,000 to help launch Gimenez's reelection effort.
One of Gimenez's sons, C.J. Gimenez, a lawyer, registered to lobby for Trump interests at the city level, and told the Herald he gave Trump's team minimal legal advice on the Crandon matter. Trump's proposal fizzled after county commissioners objected to it. Gimenez later returned the donation on the heels of Trump's incendiary statement about Mexican immigrants entering the country illegally, comments made at his presidential announcement.
On Sunday, Gimenez elaborated on comments made last week that he does not plan to vote for Trump. "At the end of the day, I made it very clear I'm not voting for Donald Trump," he said. "There are things that he has said that I just -- I can't vote for him. Being a Republican, for me, that is unusual."
Gimenez's challenger in the runoff, school board member Raquel Regalado, is also a Republican. She has said she won't vote for Trump but has also declined to say if she'll vote for Clinton.