Trump looms large as West Virginia GOP leaders squabble

President Donald Trump talks with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice during a rally Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Huntington, W.Va. Justice, a Democrat, announced that he is switching parties to join the Republicans. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – In a state where President Donald Trump’s name is still gold, Republicans are fighting publicly over who’s his best friend.

West Virginia’s Republican governor has sparred with Senate leaders over a sweeping GOP bill backed by Trump’s education secretary, leading to finger-pointing over which of them best represents the president’s agenda.

Gov. Jim Justice says he and Trump are “bound at the hip.”

He says U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos surprised Trump and got ahead of herself when she tweeted support for the Senate’s plans to allow charter schools and education vouchers. DeVos is a charter school advocate. Trump has voiced support for similar measures in other states.

The GOP Senate leader says Justice has sided with teachers’ unions. Another high-ranking senator has called for the governor’s resignation.

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