Header Ads

Breaking News

Portman takes a pass on Trump bashing of Romney, Rush Limbaugh award - News - The Columbus Dispatch


Fresh off voting to acquit President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, Sen. Rob Portman seemed largely unaware Tuesday of Trump’s ongoing attacks on a colleague Portman calls a “good friend.”

The Ohio Republican also declined to assess Trump’ s State of the Union award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a conservative talk-radio host who has made racist and misogynist statements over the years.

Portman, co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, last week voted to acquit Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress after the president had been accused of withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine to force the embattled country to do political favors for Trump.

Although the senator said Trump acted improperly, he voted against calling administration witnesses or compelling the production of documents.

Portman’s Republican colleague, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to call witnesses and voted that Trump had abused his power and should be removed from office. Since then, Romney has been the object of withering abuse from Trump and his allies. Trump has gone so far as to try to tie Romney to Ukrainian corruption and even attack him for using his “religion as a crutch.”

In a conference call with Ohio reporters, Portman was asked Tuesday whether Trump’s attacks on Romney were appropriate.

“Mitt Romney is a friend of mine,” Portman said. “He continues to be. We like having his expertise as a former governor. He knows a lot about health care. He knows a lot about other issues so it’s good to have him in the caucus.”

Pressed whether he thinks it’s OK for Trump to keep ridiculing and attacking Romney, Portman said, “That’s up to the president.” In the past, the senator has said that when he thinks Trump is wrong, he’ll say so.

Portman also said he wasn’t familiar with Limbaugh’s long history of controversial statements. Among them, he said, “If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians.” He called a Georgetown law student advocating for women’s access to birth control a “slut” and a “prostitute,” and said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”

Asked if he thought Limbaugh had made racist and misogynist statements, Portman said, “I’ll let you be the judge of that … I don’t have his record in front of me.”

Nor would the senator comment whether it was appropriate for the president to give Limbaugh an award that has gone to such luminaries as Rosa Parks, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa and Jackie Robinson.

“That’s a decision that the president makes,” Portman said. Limbaugh, he said, “has stage-four lung cancer and the president thought it was appropriate. That’s his decision.”

mschladen@dispatch.com

@martyschladen

Source link

No comments