West Virginia governor Jim Justice defects from Democrats to support Donald Trump

The governor of West Virginia has abandoned the Democrats to support President Donald Trump.

Jim Justice, a 66-year-old coal mining magnate and the richest man in West Virginia, was elected as a Democrat governor in the November 2016 election - although he refused to endorse Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

He defeated the Republican candidate, Bill Cole.

But, eight months after taking office, he has switched sides, and instead throw his weight behind Mr Trump.

"This man is a good man. He's got a backbone. He's got real ideas," Justice said. "He cares about America. He cares about us in West Virginia."

On Thursday night Mr Trump held a "Make America Great Again" rally in West Virginia, and earlier in the day he promised a "big announcement".

Mr Justice is said to have friendly relationships with some members of Mr Trump's family. Before entering politics he gave money to politicians from both parties, and was at times registered as a Republican, Democrat and independent.

A colourful character, standing six foot seven tall, Mr Justice made headlines when he brought a cow pat into the state congress to illustrate his complaints about the Republican budget proposal.

"What we have is nothing more than bunch of political bull you-know-what," he said, pulling the lid off a silver platter to reveal the prop, placed on top of a printed copy of the budget.

The news came as Mr Trump's approval rating hit a new low.

The president, however, remains popular in West Virginia, where Mrs Clinton famously promised to "put a lot of coal miners out of work".


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