And earlier this week, the billionaire real estate mogul picked up another high-profile endorsement when Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator and New Hampshire transplant, joined the Trump cabal.
Brown served in the U.S. Senate for three years lost his shot at re-election in 2012 to Elizabeth Warren. So, he changed addresses and moved to New Hampshire to try to snatch the seat of incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2014. He lost, again.
Despite his shaky electoral track record, Brown has unmistakable influence in the Granite State, having hosted a “No BS Backyard BBQ” series featuring several of the GOP presidential candidates, including Trump. At a Tuesday rally in Milford, New Hampshire, Brown announced he was going all-in for The Donald.
"Everybody wanted his endorsement and I'm very honored that he's giving it to me,” Trump said.
With the New Hampshire primary just days away, ABC News caught up with Brown. Below is an edited Q&A with the former senator-turned-Trump backer:
ABC News: When you hosted Donald Trump at one of your “No BS Backyard Barbecues” in January, he attracted your biggest crowd. Were you immediately won over?
Brown: We’ve had all 10 of the 12 major candidates come to the barbecue and it’s been a fascinating process listening and learning. I know all of the candidates and I respect the hell out of each and every one of them. But I didn’t decide then. I wanted to see Ted Cruz come, which he did, and he did a wonderful job, as well. But the thing that kept coming back to me is that I wanted a change agent, someone who could actually go down to Washington, is not beholden to anybody. The second thing is, I think he has the best experience when it comes to job creation. Trump has access to incredibly gifted people who can come up with different solutions. I know he’ll surround himself with people who want to do it for the flag. But, no disrespect to any of the other candidates because I truly love them. Chris and Marco? I love them like brothers from another mother.
ABC News: Voters in the Granite State take their state’s motto, “live free or die,” seriously. Is Trump speaking their language?
Brown: Absolutely, yeah. We did an event the other night with 5,000 people there and probably a couple thousand who couldn’t get in. The energy was really off the charts and I was pleasantly surprised. These are salt of the earth, hardcore activists, who have checked out of the process because they’ve been so frustrated with the business-as-usual gridlock. Trump’s tapped into that nerve. Admittedly, Trump had a below-average ground game in Iowa, but don't forget he's only been doing this six months. He's still learning. He's like a sponge; he'll take it in and figure out what went wrong, analyze it and fix it.
ABC News: A lot of people say the reason why Trump is doing so well in the polls is that he’s tapped into the anger of Americans. Do you see his as an angry candidacy?
Brown: No, he’s tapping into the same energy that Bernie’s tapping into on the other side. I find it amusing that Bernie can do that because he’s been in the Senate forever. He was a backbencher when he had the opportunity to be a leader. But I do respect Bernie in that he’s saying what he believes and he’s not listening to the polls. He really believes this stuff. I don’t, but he does, and that’s cool; unlike Hillary who is just all over the place, trying to go left of everybody.
ABC News: Marco Rubio crept up on Trump in Iowa and now he’s starting to creep up in the polls in New Hampshire. Should Team Trump be worried about Rubio’s rise?
Brown: Marco is a great guy, he’s a great candidate and he’s a dear friend. I’m very close with him and I wish him well. This process is a long, long process. And ultimately, who knows? They may join forces down the road. But that being said, Marco is a politician. Donald’s been doing this for six months. He’s not a politician and he’s up against seasoned pros. People keep forgetting that. They listen to the bravado. They listen to the talking. But they don’t really remember that Trump’s self-funding and that he’s new at this.
ABC News: In your endorsement speech for Trump, you complained that the Obama administration is shrinking the military and neglecting veterans. If you were advising President Trump, what would you tell him to do about it?
I served for 35 years, the last four were in the Pentagon, and I was on the Armed Services and Veterans Committee. I hope I can play a very major role in untying the hands of our generals and re-establishing trust within the ranks, giving them tools and resources, eliminating a lot of the fraud and waste, and getting transfer authority within the budget so you can actually move monies around. The president did that for the FAA but he didn’t allow it for the military. That’s why they’re in so much trouble.
ABC News: You’re currently coaching a seventh-grade basketball team. Any advice you give your kids on the court you'd want to share with Trump?
Brown: There’s a tremendous amount of sports analogies you can use between athletics and politics. When my candidate friends call, the advice I give them all is just be yourself. Stand on your beliefs and you’re going to live and die by those beliefs. You can’t keep changing stripes and you can’t be somebody that you’re not. And I tell the kids, “If you’re a shooter, shoot,” and “if you’re a great passer, pass.” We’ll improve on the other areas as we go along and learn and grow and learn and grow.
ABC News: Trump mentions how much he loves his friend Tom Brady. You're a fan, too. Do you think there's any chance he'll endorse Trump? Also: Broncos or Panthers?
Brown: You’d have to speak to Tom. But Patriots first. I like Peyton Manning and I always have. I think he’s a real competitor but I also love the Panthers and Cam is just an unbelievable athlete so I’m just going to enjoy the game and have some beers and relax.
ABC News: Did you know that you and Melania Trump have something in common? You’ve both had almost-nude photos published. (Her in GQ and you in an infamous Cosmopolitan spread).
Brown: Infamous? Come on, it’s a very nice spread. My mother and grandmother loved it. I wish I still looked like that. That was 1982.
ABC News: Trump recently criticized Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly for her own racy magazine photos. Fair game?
Brown: The Democrats have tried to use that photo against me 30 times in my career, easily. They dropped off postcards at people’s houses with that photo. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of who we are as people. We all have strengths and flaws. I’m not ashamed of it because I never would have met my wife and I never would have had these amazing kids. So I’m cool with it. It just depends on who you are, whether it bugs you or not. It doesn’t bug me at all.
ABC News: Would you want Trump to consider you as a potential running mate?
Brown: Nah, that’s never going to happen. It’s like sitting around at a bar and talking about who’s going to win the World Series next year. I’m going to help wherever anybody wants me to help, and if he’s the nominee I’m going to help him. And if he’s not, I’m going to help whoever our nominee is.