Writing for the conservative Bulwark, journalist Daniel McGraw questioned the wisdom of former president Donald Trump holding a rally this weekend in a small Ohio community at a time when the state's Republican Party is reeling with scandals of their own and the top GOP leadership of the state have begged off appearing with him.
As McGraw notes, plans for Trump to appear at a rally at Lorain County Fairgrounds was initially greeted with trepidation by one local paper with the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram stating, "Why us? . . . It's enough to inspire both anticipation and dread," in an op-ed.
A local political scientist said Ohioan's shouldn't expect much from Trump as he visits the state, ostensibly, to promote the candidacy of Max Miller, 32, a former aide on Trump's 2016 campaign in his quest to unseat popular Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) who has been a critic of the ex-president.
"Of course, he's going to talk about some of the Republicans he thinks stabbed him in the back, starting with Anthony Gonzalez in Ohio, Liz Cheney [of Wyoming], Adam Kinzinger [of Illinois], and the people who voted against him in the House during the impeachment," predicted David B. Cohen, of the University of Akron. "I think it's mostly going to be a Donald Trump pity party."
According to McGraw, Trump's choice of venue raises questions.
"It will be interesting to see how the rally will be perceived. Trump's choice to hold this rally in Wellington, a town in the middle of nowhere with a population of about 5,000, really is very strange," he wrote. "He could have chosen the county seat, Elyria, with a population of 54,000, or Lorain, with a population of 64,000. They're both just half an hour away from the site he picked. It is also odd that he is holding a rally in a state whose GOP is experiencing some serious controversies. And then, to focus on blasting a popular congressman who was once a Saint Ignatius High School and Ohio State University football star—well, it's almost as if Trump, to get personal attention, is throwing gasoline on a building that is already in flames."
That, in turn, could be why Trump won't be sharing the stage with any of the state's top Republicans.
According to the report, "The top Ohio Republicans—Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, and retiring Sen. Rob Portman—are all skipping Trump's Saturday rally for various reasons," with McGraw adding, "But some of the challengers to the established Republicans, like former Congressman Jim Renacci, who is running against DeWine, will attend. It shows how Trump is fostering a split in the party at these rallies, with Ohio being the first of four reportedly scheduled this summer."
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