Trump Endorses 'DINO' Ryan Guillen as Texas Lawmaker Leaves Democrats for GOP

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Democratic Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen on Friday, just days after Guillen announced he would defect to the GOP.

Guillen, who has represented parts of the Rio Grande Valley for nearly 20 years, said last Monday he was changing parties because he believed his views were "no longer in step" with the Democratic Party.

On Friday, Trump offered his "congratulations" to Guillen in an endorsement tweeted by Liz Harrington, the former president's spokesperson.

"Congratulations to Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen on switching parties and becoming a Republican," Trump wrote. "Ryan has served as a Democrat in the Texas Legislature for nearly 20 years, but he switched parties because of the Radical Left's ongoing destruction of our Country."

He added: "Our movement is growing across the Country, and Ryan Guillen, our newest Republican State Legislator, has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Guillen took to Twitter Friday night to tout the endorsement.

"President Trump, I am honored to receive your endorsement. In the fall of 2020, Trump signs covered south Texas. A big THANK YOU from me and my friends and neighbors," the Texas lawmaker wrote.

Guillen won re-election last year by 17 points while running as a Democrat in a district Trump won by more than 10 points. He plans to make a bid for re-election in 2022 as a Republican.

"After much consideration and prayer with my family, I feel that my fiscally conservative, pro-business, and pro-life values are no longer in step with the Democrat Party of today, and I am proudly running as a Republican to represent House District 31," Guillen said in a statement announcing his party switch.

Even as President Joe Biden made gains in many states—including Texas—the southern part of the Lone Star State shifted toward Republicans in 2020.

Meanwhile, Republicans have welcomed Guillen into their party.

"Everybody has known that Ryan Guillen is really a Republican who was attached to the wrong label," GOP Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a press conference Monday morning. "Ryan, we're glad you finally came out of the closet."

Others, however, criticized Guillen for the party switch, alleging the move was to help his re-election in a Republican-trending seat. Some on Twitter also accused him of being a "DINO," meaning a "Democrat in name only."

"Another DINO switching parties so he can get rich in an oil state," tweeted @gwayne919.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa accused Guillen of "prioritizing holding on to his job rather than standing up for Texans."

"We're disappointed to see him selling his soul and selling out South Texans, but we're excited to clear the field for a real Democrat to run — one we can count on to show up for our families and put Texans first," Hinojosa said in a statement.

Former President Trump
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Texas State Rep. Ryan Guillen just days after Guillen announced he would leave the Democratic Party for the GOP. Drew Angerer/Getty Images