DeWine: Trump ‘started a fire that threatened to burn down our democracy’

Ohio Governor Mike Dewine is greeted by President Trump at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Trump is in Dayton to visit with families of victims of the mass shooting that took place here on Sunday.(Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News/pool)
Ohio Governor Mike Dewine is greeted by President Trump at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Trump is in Dayton to visit with families of victims of the mass shooting that took place here on Sunday.(Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News/pool)

Credit: Ty Greenlees/Staff

Credit: Ty Greenlees/Staff

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that President Trump’s false claims about a rigged election “started a fire that has threatened to burn down our democracy” and his speech to protesters “served only to fan those flames, encouraging the mob behavior that ensued.”

DeWine served as honorary co-chairman of Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in Ohio and was a Republican delegate for Trump.

The Greene County Republican called the assault on the U.S. Capitol “a direct attack on the Constitution, on everything we hold dear.”

When asked if he regrets supporting Trump for re-election, DeWine said his reasons for backing Trump remain valid, including appointment of conservative judges to federal courts and striking better trade deals.

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On Sept. 24, DeWine declined to condemn Trump’s comments that he may not accept a peaceful transfer of power.

“I don’t know what is in his heart and what’s in his mind. Look, anybody who runs for president wants to win and they’re going to fight and they’re going to fight all the way through. But, without exception, I believe, throughout American history, the loser, once it’s determined that you are the loser, concedes. And we move on. That will happen who ever loses this election,” DeWine said in September.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Ohio Democratic Party Chairwoman Rhine McLin both condemned on Wednesday Ohio elected officials who did not denounce Trump earlier.

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When asked Thursday to respond to criticism that he failed to forcefully call Trump out, DeWine said he receives criticism from all sides and when he acknowledged Democrat Joe Biden as the president-elect, Trump tweeted that DeWine would face a GOP primary challenger in the 2022 governor’s race.

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On Thursday, the governor declined to criticize U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, Warren Davidson, Steve Chabot, Bob Gibbs and Bill Johnson, Ohio Congressmen who voted against accepting some states electoral results.

“That wouldn’t have been my vote,” DeWine said.

The governor said while the attack on the Capitol marked a dark day for America, he praised Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others for carrying out their constitutional duties.

“The system worked. The constitution held,” he said.