Pence calls for continued support of Republicans in Congress
CINCINNATI (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence used a trip to swing state Ohio on Tuesday to ask Americans for their support of Republican leaders who will bolster President Donald Trump’s administration.
Pence highlighted the administration’s work during the event at a downtown Cincinnati hotel, telling crowd: “Tell your friends about what we’ve done.”
Pence was scheduled to promote Trump’s tax reforms but instead emphasized the importance of keeping Republicans in control of Congress, as Democrats aim to reclaim House seats during midterm elections in November.
“Leave today with a burden in your heart,” Pence said. “Determine that you’re going to keep standing with the men and women who stand with this administration.”
Pence criticized Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio for voting against Trump’s tax proposals, and measures that would crack down on sanctuary cities, repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and defund Planned Parenthood.
If Brown doesn’t vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, “Ohio needs to send us a new U.S. senator who will,” Pence said.
Pence heavily praised Brown’s GOP opponent, Rep. Jim Renacci, and was scheduled to attend one of the congressman’s campaign events later Tuesday.
Lara Sisselman, a spokeswoman from the Ohio Democratic Party, downplayed Pence’s comment, saying Renacci “needs Washington Republicans to come in and boost his campaign.”
Pence also called on Ohio voters to reelect Rep. Steve Chabot, calling the Republican congressman the “son of Cincinnati.” Chabot has dominated the area’s political landscape for three decades.
“We wouldn’t have gotten these tax cuts without him, and we need him back in Washington,” Pence said.
About 400 supporters - many dressed in red, white and blue - attended the event sponsored by America First Policies, an organization that supports Trump’s agenda. Several wore his signature red “Make America Great Again” caps.
Cincinnati is Pence’s 23rd stop as he travels around the country to promote Trump’s tax package.
Trump signed the GOP-backed $1.5 trillion tax bill into law in December, lauding the policy for increasing workers’ take-home pay. The legislation also slashed corporate tax rates and included an effort to repeal Obama’s health care law.
Pence visited Columbus in June as part of the same tour. He returned to the area a few weeks ago to support Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson.
Balderson is believed to have narrowly edged out Democrat Danny O’Connor in a special election last week. The unusually close race in a district where Trump won by double digits in 2016 showed changing voter sentiment in a bellwether state before the November midterms.
Democrats in dozens of similar districts across the country are looking to take back House seats in places where their candidates would have been considered longshots only recently.
Before leaving Ohio, Pence will attend campaign events for Renacci and state Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Republican candidate for Ohio governor.