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Ohio Sen. Rob Portman Drops Support for Donald Trump

Portman backed Trump but insisted he'd maintain his independence and never appeared with Trump during his campaign appearances in Ohio.
Portman backed Trump but insisted he'd maintain his independence and never appeared with Trump during his campaign appearances in Ohio.
Portman backed Trump but insisted he'd maintain his independence and never appeared with Trump during his campaign appearances in Ohio.
Credit ANDY CHOW / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO
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Portman backed Trump but insisted he'd maintain his independence and never appeared with Trump during his campaign appearances in Ohio.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is no longer supporting Donald Trump for president, and says he'll vote for his running mate instead.

A statement issued tonight goes much further than what the GOP senator said shortly after tapes of Trump's vulgar comments about women were released yesterday. Portman condemned the comments then, but said he was glad Trump had apologized.

Here's Portman's entire statement:

"As I said yesterday, Donald Trump's comments were offensive and wrong. I had hoped to support the candidate my party nominated in the primary process. I thought it was appropriate to respect the millions of voters across the country who chose Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee. While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him. I continue to believe our country cannot afford a Hillary Clinton presidency. I will be voting for Mike Pence for President."

Portman had originally backed Gov. John Kasich presidential bid. Unlike Kasich, Portman endorsed Trump he won the Republican primary process. But Portman never appeared with Trump or his surrogates during the more than dozen visits they've made to Ohio since the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. 

Portman himself is being challenged in his re-election bid by former Gov. Ted Strickland. Strickland's campaign manager David Bergstein called Portman's renunciation of Trump "a desperate effort to save his own political skin."

Here's the complete statement from Strickland campaign manager David Bergstein: “Just like the typical Washington politician that he is, Senator Portman is engaging in a desperate and transparent attempt to save his own political skin because he knows that his unabashed record of supporting Trump has put him badly out of step with the values that Ohioans believe in. For months, Senator Portman has stood by and propped up Trump as he has engaged in a campaign of hate and division -- even as leading Ohio Republicans like Governor Kasich have spoken out against him. Ohio voters will see Portman for what he is: a desperate and cowardly politician who will try and say anything to help himself.”  

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