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Government & Politics

Portman Calls Trump's Comments Objectionable, but Stands by His Endorsement

photo of Rob Portman

Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman says Donald Trump’s comments on the fitness of a federal judge are wrong, offensive and should be retracted. But, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he’s still endorsing Trump for president.

Portman says he won’t follow the lead of another GOP senator locked in a tight re-election race, Illinois’ Mark Kirk.

Kirk withdrew his endorsement of Trump after the presumptive presidential nominee repeatedly maintained that an American-born judge of Mexican descent cannot fairly oversee a case against Trump University. Kirk called Trump’s comments “un-American.”

Portman says he’s standing by his commitment to support the GOP’s nominee.

“I’m going to continue to disagree with him when he says something that I think is wrong. But as I’ve said at the outset I think it’s appropriate to support the Republican nominee. The people have made their choice clear.” 

Portman says he also agrees with Trump’s general positions on issues such as military preparedness and the economy, though he differs on some specifics.

He says he’s running a campaign quite separate from Trump, though he looks at the candidate in the totality.

Portman on the total candidate

“Ultimately, what you’re trying to do is elect a president who can get the country back on track in terms of economic growth, the opportunity to protect the country. So you have to look at those policy issues of course.

Portman’s race against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is one of a half-dozen Senate races in the country rated as a “toss up.”