Sheriff Neil Admits Appearance At Trump Rally Was 'A Big Mistake'
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil, a Democrat, is calling his appearance Sunday at the Donald Trump rally in West Chester "a big mistake."
"I was very appreciative of Donald Trump's support of law enforcement so I was there merely to show appreciation for his support of law enforcement in the United States. Not just Hamilton County, but the United States."Neil isn't the only one calling his presence at the rally a mistake. Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Tim Burke says he was "shocked" and "amazed" when he learned about it. Burke says he spoke with Neil immediately upon hearing about the incident and made it clear that Neil's appearance could hurt other party members on the ballot.
Neil echoed that concern while speaking to reporters outside his office Monday afternoon.
"I apologize to the other Democrats who are going to be sharing the ballot with Jim Neil. It was selfish on my part to not to think of them when I attended this rally."
Neil says he was invited to attend the rally and was there solely because of Trump's support for law enforcement. He says it was not an endorsement, nor did he choose where he was seated.
"I'm a Democrat," says Neil. "Tomorrow I'll be using a Democrat ballot and I'll be casting a vote for Hillary (Clinton)."
Throughout the roughly 15 minute news conference, Neil repeatedly said he was there to show his appreciation for Trump's support of law enforcement, saying Trump is the only candidate he's heard take such a stance.
"I've never heard any candidate other than Donald Trump come out in support of law enforcement. Maybe they did, I haven't heard."
"He's a Republican. I'm a Democrat. Our platforms are different," says Neil. "I don't condone everything that he believes in but I do appreciate his support of law enforcement."
Party chair Burke says he does believe Neil, who is up for re-election this fall, has been a very good sheriff and has a good record his last four years in office. "But he's made it a lot harder for himself in November."