Sen. Rob Portman joined Gov. John Kasich, state Auditor David Yost and Congressman Pat Tiberi Saturday in saying he will not vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
In an announcement that turns virtually the entire Ohio Republican establishment against Trump, Portman, R-Ohio, said while he continues “to respect those who will support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him.”
Saying the nation “cannot afford” Democrat Hillary Clinton as president, Portman said instead he “will be voting” for Pence, currently the Republican vice presidential nominee.
Portman said he had backed Trump as the nominee because “it was appropriate to respect the millions of voters across the country who chose” Trump during the Republican primaries. But Portman changed his mind after the Washington Post reported an audio tape from 2005 of Trump making lewd and offensive remarks about women.
Portman is seeking re-election against former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
Tiberi, a Republican from Genoa Township, said Trump’s “comments and behavior were reprehensible, vulgar and extremely disrespectful,” Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, said Saturday night. “Americans deserve better choices for the highest office in the land. Trump should consider stepping aside. Otherwise, this will continue to consume the remainder of the campaign and help Clinton become the next president.”
Kasich, who has never endorsed Trump, announced he would not vote for the New York real-estate developer, saying, “The actions of the last days are disgusting, but that’s not why I reached this decision. It has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about.”
Yost joined the call Saturday evening for Trump’s removal: “I condemn his loathsome words and despicable attitude. Much, much worse is the conduct he laughingly describes, which amounts to sexual assault.
“Mr. Trump must do the only thing remaining in his power to defeat Hillary Clinton: withdraw from the race.”
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said he understands it if members of his party can no longer support Trump, and it won’t be held against them.
“I don’t believe it’s the party’s role to punish anyone for following their conscience,” he said.
Trump has vowed to remain in the race even as a former Trump adviser who spoke only on condition of anonymity said a candidate in Trump’s situation can “either get out and salvage what is left of your reputation or you can fly into the side of a mountain.”
In a posting on Twitter, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called Trump’s comments “repulsive” and added “while it is appropriate that he has apologized, he must demonstrate the sincerity of his apology through his actions moving forward.”
The fallout extended even to Ohio’s state legislative races, where Democrats called on Republicans to denounce Trump.
Silence was the response.
(Jessica Wehrman and Darrel Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Here’s what people around Dayton, Springfield, Hamilton and Middletown are saying about the comments made by Donald Trump.
We want to hear what you think. Speak out on our Ohio Politics Facebook page.
Micheal Dempsey: America is truly in decline. To think this man could be president is a new low in the history of the world, Has America lost her moral compass forever?
Liz McKinney: We had Bill Clinton remember. Scum of the earth with women. So don’t crack up with Trump. Remember Hillary — thousands of e-mails and selling out to foreign governments to enrich herself.
Richard Doughty: He needs to drop out. If you make any excuse for this, you might be a deplorable.
Tank Spencer: So what? Ain’t a man alive that hasn’t made rude and crude remarks about women.
Danny Lee Van Winkle: I don’t approve of any person’s disrespectful speech against anyone. But Trump is human just like the rest of us. And he did apologize for what he said.
Robin Gilbert: Trump said it 10 yrs ago, he regrets it and has apologized. Nobody ever says anything about the Clintons. What about President Clinton committing adultery while in office? And lying about it.