Former President Donald Trump paid a visit to Ohio on Saturday to promote his Senate and local congressman candidates in the upcoming primary election.
Trump took the stage at the Delaware County Fairgrounds shortly before 7 p.m., a venue he frequented during his 2016 election campaign. In June 2021, the former president visited Ohio for the last time.
The rally took place 10 days before Ohio’s primary on May 3rd, in the midst of a crowded and bitter GOP Senate campaign. Seven Republicans are fighting for the job of replacing retiring Senator Rob Portman.
After months of discussion about whether Trump would endorse in the Senate race, he just revealed his support for J.D. Vance.
Because of previous remarks Vance has made about Trump, including text messages that have resurfaced from a former roommate, the endorsement has been criticised.
Shout-outs extended to Ohio Republicans
Trump complimented a group of Republicans, including Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Auditor Keith Faber, for their efforts in Ohio. He praised LaRose in particular for his contributions to the state’s redistricting process.
He didn’t mention any of the candidates running for governor this year, but he did refer to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against Trump in the 2016 GOP primary, as “this terrible governor that you had.” Bob Paduchik, the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, was also commended by Trump.
Trump comments on Vance’s support
Halfway through his remarks, Trump invited Vance onto the platform, declaring him the GOP’s greatest opportunity to maintain Ohio’s Senate seat in Republican hands. Other candidates running against Vance have his support, but he believes Vance will, “deliver an historic victory for America First in Ohio.”
“He’s a guy that said some bad shit about me,” Trump said. “He did. But you know what, everyone of the others did also. If I went by that standard, I don’t think I would’ve endorsed anybody in the country.”
Trump targets Biden
Trump began his address early, criticising the Biden administration on matters such as inflation and foreign policy, among others. He stated mistakenly that he may have won the 2020 election in Ohio by more than 8 percentage points, despite the fact that state election officials confirmed the result.
Throughout his remarks, Trump directed comments to “J.D.” and reminded the crowd that they needed to send Vance to the Senate.
J.D. Vance explains himself
The crowd booed, cheered, and chanted “J.D!” as the novelist and venture capitalist entered. He billed himself as the “America First candidate” and outlined his policy positions on the border between the United States and Mexico, technology firms, and public health laws.
He also acknowledged that he was late in becoming a Trump supporter. “When we get to the Senate, we’re going to do something,” Vance said. “No more talking. No more slogans. No more politicians who wag their fingers at the corrupt Big Tech officials and the FBI. It’s time for consequences, and it’s time for action.”
Candidates, elected officials take stage ahead of Trump’s remarks
A wave of Ohio Republican officials who earned Trump’s endorsement praised his leadership and chastised President Joe Biden just hours before he was set to appear.
The only Republicans now in office who spoke were U.S. Rep. Mike Carey, R-Columbus, and U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who peddles 2020 election conspiracies, as well as candidates for the 7th Congressional District Max Miller and the 13th Congressional District Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, took the stage.
“The midterm elections are here…the America First agenda is returning to Washington,” Miller told the crowd.
Governor’s race on the horizon
Gov. Mike DeWine, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, did not attend Trump’s rally, although his campaign team greeted visitors at the fairgrounds early Saturday. Attendees branded the governor a “Republican in name only” and slammed his handling of the outbreak.
“As long as they get DeWine out, I’m good with it,” Dayton resident Steve Callahan said of the race.
Opponents of DeWine are seeking to take advantage of DeWine’s dissatisfaction. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci spoke at the gathering, while Canal Winchester farmer Joe Blystone strewn campaign banners throughout the fairgrounds.
A house in disarray
When it comes to Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, a couple from Lebanon attending today’s Trump event is a house divided. Christy Bessey stated that she has been leaning toward Mandel, accusing Vance of jumping on the Trump bandwagon. Wals, her husband, is a fan of Vance.
They’ll listen to both candidates speak at upcoming events before making their ultimate selection.
“I don’t want anyone getting there on the coat-tails of somebody else’s name,” Christy Bessey said.
Vance is the lone Senate contender at Trump’s rally
Former state treasurer Josh Mandel, former state Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, investment banker Mike Gibbons, and state senator Matt Dolan were among those who did not attend the event on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Gibbons’ campaign conducted a rally outside the fairgrounds.
The four candidates are competing against Vance in the May 3 primary to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman, and had hoped to win support from the former president.
Trump endorses LaRose for Ohio Secretary of State
Trump sent a statement shortly before his event in Ohio on Saturday, promoting Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for re-election. LaRose also announced his support for J.D. Vance in the Republican Senate contest.