Trump garners two more endorsements in U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday won endorsements from two more U.S. Congress members as he battled to be his party’s nominee.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, United States, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

Of the 300 Republicans in Congress - 246 in the House of Representatives and 54 in the Senate - Trump now had the explicit support of 11 with the newly announced public backing by Representatives Jeff Miller of Florida and Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania.

Trump, a billionaire businessman, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich were vying for the nomination to represent the Republican Party in the Nov. 8 general election.

“Donald Trump is the only person who has what it takes to shake up the status quo and entrenched bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.,” Miller said in a statement.

Miller, who will retire from the Republican-controlled Congress at year’s end, capping 16 years in the House, has chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Shuster, also in his 16th year in the House, has chaired a powerful transportation committee.

Trump backers in Congress have argued that many more lawmakers privately expressed support for Trump, but still have to run in primaries and so have publicly remained neutral.

Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who endorsed Trump this month, said in an interview that the Trump campaign was cranking up its outreach to Congress.

Cruz, a small-government Tea Party favorite, has snared more endorsements from Congress members.

The most prominent U.S. Republican lawmakers to publicly endorse Trump was Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been advising the campaign on foreign policy.

The others were U.S. Representatives Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter, Tom Marino, Tom Reed, Scott DesJarlais, Lou Barletta and Renee Ellmers.

Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jonathan Oatis