Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland isn’t holding back in the home stretch of his challenge to Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
The Democrat from Duck Run took aim at Portman and Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump in an impassioned speech to Athens County Democrats this past Thursday.
“There’s a freedom that comes with being a little behind. I feel like I can say anything I want to say, anything that’s in my heart,” Strickland said. “And what’s in my heart is this: Donald Trump is ignorant, he’s bigoted, he’s intolerant, he’s divisive, and he should never be president of this country. He should not even be the nominee of the Republican Party.”
Strickland said he doesn’t feel sympathy for the Republicans because, he said, they created Donald Trump. As evidence he pointed to Republican behavior during the tenure of President Barack Obama. “They encouraged the Tea Party and the hateful, spiteful rhetoric,” Strickland said.
He said the country needs the healthy competition of two viable political parties “but (the Republicans) have lost their soul” and now have Trump as their nominee.
“He is a dangerous man for a lot of reasons,” he declared. “A man who would stand before a crowd and mock someone with a physical disability? And he wants to be president of our country? A man who would speak in disparaging ways about a prisoner of war because they were captured? A man who calls women pigs, and worse? A man who is emotionally and temperamentally unstable.”
Strickland cited Trump’s encouragement of nuclear proliferation and his seeming willingness to consider the use of nuclear weapons.
Turning to Portman, Strickland said that for months Portman claimed that while he disagreed with Trump’s statements, he still supported him for president.
“And then finally, (Portman) had a political calculation that it was getting too hot to continue to be there so he said he can’t support him,” Strickland said, referring to Portman pulling his endorsement of Trump after a 2005 video surfaced of Trump talking about using his celebrity status to impose himself sexually on women.
Strickland said that he and Portman are different people. He pointed to his having grown up in Appalachia and his family members’ work in construction.
He said Portman was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, calling him a millionaire who went to private schools and never had to worry about health-care coverage.
“That’s why he can say let’s get rid of Obamacare,” Strickland said. “That’s why he can say we ought to privatize Social Security, or turn Medicare into a voucher program.”
Strickland said that when Portman has to choose between Ohioans and his “banker friends” and “wealthy benefactors,” Portman chooses his wealthy benefactors every time.
Strickland cited Portman’s opposition to increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, saying that he’s calculated from Portman’s financial statement and U.S. Senate salary that, working 40 hours per week, Portman makes $333.57 per hour.
“He’s living in a bubble,” Strickland said. “He can come here, put on his blue jeans, get him a hard hat, walk around for a photo op and say, ‘Oh I care about the coal miners.’ He doesn’t give a damn about the coal miners or Appalachia. What he cares about, based on his behavior, is appeasing the Wall Streeters and the Washington insiders. He has spent his entire political life taking care of people who are like him.”