Texas Gov: Why I'm supporting Trump, and why sitting on the sidelines isn't OK

Gov. Abbott: Country off track, GOP will unite
Gov. Abbott: Country off track, GOP will unite

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump may not be perfect, but he'd be much better for the country than Hillary Clinton, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday, explaining his endorsement for the New York businessman.

Abbott, who spoke with CNBC's "Squawk Alley," had previously voiced his support for home state Sen. Ted Cruz, but he threw his support behind Trump after the other GOP presidential hopefuls dropped out. And although he was light on specific praise for Trump, Abbott was emphatic about the need to support him.

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas
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"I may or may not agree with everything that Donald Trump says — I didn't agree with everything that (2012 GOP presidential nominee) Mitt Romney stood for or that (2008 nominee) John McCain stood for," Abbott said. "But here's what I do know, ... Hillary is far worse for America than Donald Trump would be."

The Texas governor particularly cited Clinton's positions on energy industry regulation, fighting the Islamic State and immigration in explaining his opposition to the former secretary of state.

Clinton has not officially wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination, but most pundits say it is mathematically unlikely that her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, could overtake her lead in delegates.

And on the Republican side, Abbott said he isn't worried by the party divisions.

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"This is something that we've been through every four years: Kind of the same thing happened with Mitt Romney four years ago, the same thing happened with John McCain four years before that," he said. "And there is a rallying cry here, and that is the country has gone off track, we believe, with regard to the Obama agenda, and we see Hillary Clinton as nothing more than an extension of the Obama agenda — if not far worse."

"So I think Republicans will unite understanding that we cannot take four or eight more years of the Obama agenda," he added.

And to those who say they prefer none of the major party presidential options, Abbott had some advice.

"We have no second chance to get this right: People have to participate if we are going to put America back on the right track," he said.