Portman: I Can No Longer Support Trump For President

Oct 9, 2016

Sen. Rob Portman
Credit Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Ohio's junior U.S. senator, Rob Portman announced late Saturday he is rescinding his previous endorsement of Republican president nominee Donald Trump.

Portman was one of dozens of GOP leaders from around the country who have announced they can no longer support Trump, after the disclosure Friday of a 2005 video in which Trump makes lewd, vulgar comments about a married woman he said he wanted to have sex with.

"While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him,'' Portman said in a written statement released by his campaign committee late Saturday.

Portman, a Terrace Park Republican, said he continues to believe "our country cannot afford a Hillary Clinton presidency. I will vote for Mike Pence for president,'' referring to the Indiana governor who is Trump's running mate.

Since Trump has said repeatedly he has no intention of dropping out of the race and early voting has already begun in a number of states, a write-in vote for Pence would be largely symbolic at this point.

The exodus of Portman and dozens of other GOP elected officials – including 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona – comes just as Clinton and Trump are to meet Sunday night in the second of their three scheduled debates.

Portman – who has a double-digit lead in his bid for re-election over Democrat Ted Strickland – has been under fire for months from Strickland and the Democratic Party for his endorsement of Trump.

The Terrace Park Republican had endorsed Trump, but he has gone out of his way to not appear in public with him at any campaign events – including the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in August.

In his written statement, Portman said Trump's 2005 comments "were offensive and wrong."

"I had hoped to support the candidate my party nominated in the primary process,'' Portman said. "I thought it was appropriate to respect the millions of voters across the country who chose Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee."