CLEVELAND - Clarence Mingo, the Franklin County auditor and one of the most highly-visible African-American Republicans in Ohio, has made it clear that he has no use whatsoever for the GOP's presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
"You can't change a man's character overnight,'' said Mingo, who is an Ohio delegate to the Republican National Convention. "Donald Trump is fundamentally who he is. And who he is is not someone I can support."
The Ohio delegation – with 66 delegates and a few hundred alternates, honorary delegates and party leaders – is an island of support for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the former presidential candidate who has yet to endorse Trump and does not appear to be likely to do so any time soon.
Mingo, a Kasich supporter, spoke out earlier this year in the Ohio primary campaign about Trump; and he still believes he is the wrong choice for the party.
"I've watched him mock a person with disabilities,'' Mingo said outside the Ohio delegation breakfast Monday morning. "As a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, I have heard him dishonor those who were prisoners of war. And, as an African-American, I have heard him make remarks that have been offensive and hurtful."
"I just can't endorse him,'' Mingo said. "I will respect him as our party's nominee, but I can't support him."
So what will he do when he goes to vote this year?
"Well, I can't vote for Hillary Clinton,'' Mingo said. "I will have to think about this."
He said that, in the meantime, he is going to concentrate on the GOP candidates below the presidential level, working for candidates like U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and others down the ticket.
"I want to be involved in getting Republicans elected," Mingo said. "But Trump – no, I just can't do it."