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Government & Politics

Southeast Ohio GOP Chairman Resigns Over Trump Comments at Russia Summit

photo of Chris Gagin
Chris Gagin said "something just snapped" as he listened to President Donald Trump's comments during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinski .

A county Republican Party leader is getting a lot of state and national attention for his decision to resign after watching President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. But, unlike Trump, he’s not walking back or changing what he said.

Chris Gagin said “something just snapped” as he watched Trump appear to emphatically choose the version of events that Putin told him over what the U.S. intelligence community was saying. 

“I just didn’t feel that my conscience would allow me to continue to serve in that leadership role,” Gagin said.

So he resigned as the chairman of the Republican Party of Belmont County, a West Virginia border county that Trump won by nearly 40 points.

“I fully expect that I’ll be ostracized, in a sense, from the party because of this action. But this really is not meant to destroy the party,” he said.

Gagin said negative reaction has shown him some of the tribalism within the Grand Old Party, but he's a proud conservative and still supports the Ohio Republican Party and its ticket this fall.