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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Rep. Jim Jordan Celebrates Opening Of Trump's Ohio Campaign Headquarters

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaking before the camapaign office's opening.
Nick Evans
/
WOSU
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaking before the camapaign office's opening.

One of the president’s loudest defenders in Congress was greeted with a warm welcome by a room packed with Trump supporters at a Westerville office park Thursday. Cheers of "four more years" went up as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) walked into the newly-opened headquarters for President Trump's Ohio reelection effort.

Westerville is the sort of suburban territory where Democrats are hoping to pick up votes in November, but Jordan believes Ohio will stick with the president.

"I think he's going to do as good or better, win Ohio strong, and I think he's going to get another four years as president of the United States,” Jordan said. “And I think the American people are going to reelect him because they appreciate that fact that he's done what he said he was going to do."

Jordan points to the 2017 tax cut law, reduced regulations and foreign policy achievements like the recent deal between Israel and the UAE.

While Trump won Ohio handily in 2016, recent polling  and NPR analysis suggests the state will be a much closer race this time around.

Jordan speaking to Trump supporters.
Credit Nick Evans / WOSU
Jordan speaking to Trump supporters.

Jordan's Case To Voters

At Thursday's event, Jordan insisted the GOP is the “pro-America party and President Trump is the pro-America candidate.” He then veered into criticism of a string of COVID-19 related changes, laying demands for social distancing and other health precautions at the feet of “the Left.”

“Think about what we’ve seen: the Left says you can’t go to church, you can’t go to worship, you can’t go to school, you can’t go to the beach, you can’t go to a loved ones funeral, right? You can’t vote in person,” Jordan ticked off to murmurs of agreement. “And you can’t play college football for goodness sakes.”

Loud groans erupted from the crowd at the mention of football. “But the Left says it’s fine to protest, riot and loot,” Jordan concluded.

While Jordan says the coronavirus is a serious problem, his supporters seemed less concerned. Many of the 150 or so supporters packed into the room were not wearing masks, and cheered freely.

Jordan went on to argue that a number of Democratic governors are hampering the country’s economic recovery. The audience quickly jumped in to heap scorn on “RINOs”—Republican in name only—as well.  The dig appeared to be aimed at Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who has faced stiff criticism from some within his party for what they see as his over-aggressive approach to managing the virus.

One voice separated itself from the buzz with a “Jim Jordan for governor,” and the crowd quickly jumped into chants of “Jim, Jim, Jim.”

Goodyear

In recent days, Trump has levied criticism against the Akron-based tire company Goodyear after an image began circulating online telling employees they could wear Black Lives Matter or LGBTQ apparel to work, but not clothing associated with the Trump campaign. The president even went so far as to call for a boycott, drawing backlash from Democrats.

Jordan weighed in on the issue just before the Westerville event.

"My guess is most people who work for Goodyear don't like the top people at the corporation telling them they can't wear their 'Back The Blue' hat or their 'Back The Blue' mask,” Jordan said. “Or some of the folks who'd like to wear a MAGA t-shirt to work when they're working hard making their products and helping their company and helping our country."

In a statement Wednesday, Goodyear said the image in question “was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate.” It went on to say that as part of its anti-harassment and discrimination policy, the company “ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.”

Copyright 2020 WOSU 89.7 NPR News. To see more, visit WOSU 89.7 NPR News.