Congressman Rokita’s split with Trump over ATC privatization creates opening for Congressman Messer

INDIANAPOLIS—Congressman Rokita’s decision to break with President Trump over a new plan to privatize air traffic controllers could create yet another point of friction in an already testy Republican primary.

The President today called on Congress to take up and pass his plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system, creating a private, non-profit corporation that airlines would contribute fees towards.

While the plan’s outlook in Congress is unclear, Congressman Rokita, who typically marches in lockstep with the President, is not a fan. According to USA Today, Congressman Rokita is apparently a “critic” of the plan and “has said privatizing the air traffic control system is trying to solve a problem when ‘we don’t think really one exists.’” Congressman Rokita was also one of only two Republicans who last year voted against a similar proposal when it came before the House Transportation Committee.

With daylight between Congressman Rokita and President Trump on the issue, there’s now potential for a new point of contention in the already heated Republican primary. Indiana’s Republican primary, one of the most high-profile in the country, has already seen its fair share of sniping with nearly a year to go. That includes a general aviation-adjacent fight after Politico Pro reported that Congressman Rokita had reimbursed himself for roughly $110,000 from his campaign and official accounts for transportation costs stemming from the use of his own private plane.

“Congressman Rokita is set to break with President Trump on one of the only concrete initiatives we’ve seen so far in Trump’s long-promised infrastructure push,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Republican infighting in the Senate primary has already begun, and if more issues continue to split the party like this, it will only get uglier.”

###