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Portman: Clearing Park Of Protestors Was Wrong

Alex Brandon

As protests continue across Ohio and the country, the state's Republican U.S. Senator says President Trump could be doing more to help those demonstrations from spiraling into violence.

As criticism poured in for police use of gas and smoke to remove protestors from in front of a church so Trump could hold a Bible for photos, Sen. Rob Portman said that Trump has called George Floyd's death unacceptable and said he supports peaceful protest.

"He hasn't been consistent with that all the time. But he has said that," Portman said. "He has also said we should need to draw the line at the violence and the destruction of property and the other things we just talked about. I also said that I thought we needed a more calming tone and the words matter."

As for his reported response to that photo op that he was "late to lunch," Portman said reporters were shouting at him to comment as he was hurrying to an event to speak about legislation on national parks.

"I think the clearance took place at 6:30, 6:45, at 7:00. Then, of course, people need to be told it's time to go home," he said. "The mayor of D.C. had a curfew in place. You know, I abided by it. Other people abided by it. Everyone needed to abide by it. But it was not appropriate to clear that area before that."

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Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.