Lindstrom Slams Elizabeth Warren As Strident, Questions GOP Senate Opponents’ Commitment To GOP

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Beth Lindstrom is supporting President Donald Trump’s tough trade policies, provided that tariffs don’t last long.

“On the tariffs, I say:  I believe in free trade but fair trade. So I think the president’s ultimate goal is to have fair trade, free trade. And so yeah, we have to kind of ride through it. But I do agree. But they should be targeted, short, get to balance, and then go away,” Lindstrom told television interviewer Jon Keller.

Lindstrom, one of three Republicans seeking the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in November, appeared Sunday on Keller at Large, a one-on-one interview segment on WBZ-TV Channel 4.

Keller asked her if the tariffs might hurt the Massachusetts economy, which depends in part on trade with Canada, which is one of the countries Trump is sparring with.

“Well, I think you see markets go up and down all the time, and that’s a reaction to external forces. So I do think we need to give this time and see where it goes. … We can always change direction,” Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom said she disagrees with Trump’s approach on trade, even though she shares his policy goals.

“Do I wish that it wasn’t all at the same time, that he could have done one tariff decision, and then take that model if it worked, and go to different places? Yes. I do. But I’m not the president,” she said.

Earlier in the interview, Lindstrom distinguished herself from her GOP opponents by touting her 30 years of commitment to the Republican Party as an activist, party chairman, political consultant, and governor’s aide.

She noted that state Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) was a registered Democrat before he ran for public office, and that businessman John Kingston left the Republican Party to back a third-party anti-Trump candidate in 2016. She called Diehl a “career politician” and implied that Diehl and Kingston are “political opportunists.”

“To me, that’s a tough nut to crack,” Lindstrom said.

Keller noted that Lindstrom served as the state’s director of consumer affairs and business regulation under Mitt Romney, which he compared to the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that Warren conceived of and proposed before it was founded in 2010.

Some national Republicans have called for abolishing the agency. Keller asked Lindstrom if she thinks it’s needed.

“I do. I would not get rid of it. Because having the knowledge that you need to protect some consumers, because there are some bad actors out there,” Lindstrom said. “But you also need to make sure that businesses can thrive.”

But Lindstrom noted that Warren didn’t get then-President Barack Obama to appoint her to lead that agency.

Lindstrom criticized Warren as “a rock thrower.”

“And I think she’s still campaigning like a candidate, rather than acting like a senator,” Lindstrom said.

Keller zeroed in on Trump’s role in the Senate race in Massachusetts.

Diehl was a Trump supporter in 2016. Kingston was a Never Trumper. Lindstrom is trying a middle approach, saying she agrees the president on many policies (including the Trump tax cut of December 2017) but disagrees with him on what she calls the “three Ts”:  tone, temperament, and Twitter.

“And if you look at Elizabeth Warren’s behavior, it mirrors a little bit some of that. But the difference is:  The president is actually making progress, where Elizabeth Warren grabs her bullhorn, and just goes to the center of our city, and, you know, slams and rants. Rather than going to Washington, finding someone to create a relationship with, bipartisan effort, and creating solutions. So that’s a very big difference,” Lindstrom said.

A not-for-profit organization affiliated with Kingston owns a modest number of shares in Boston Media Networks, the company that operates New Boston Post.

The primary is Tuesday, September 4.