UPDATE: U.S. Sen. Portman criticizes Trump for calling Democrats ‘treasonous’ during his Cincinnati visit to tout tax plan

Published: Sunday, February 04, 2018 @ 1:56 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 1:00 PM

President Donald Trump speaks on tax policy during a visit to Sheffer Corporation, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Blue Ash, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump speaks on tax policy during a visit to Sheffer Corporation, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Blue Ash, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)(Evan Vucci/AP)

UPDATE: After President Donald Trump called Democrats “treasonous” for not applauding him during his State of the Union speech, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he “would not have used the words.” 

Portman, who attended the event, said in a statement on Tuesday that he shared “the disappointment that Democrats at the State of the Union speech did not respond favorably to excellent unemployment numbers.” 

“Good economic news should be celebrated by everyone, and it is a sign of the partisan division in our country these days,” Portman said. ”But we have to be careful about the language we use so we don’t create even more partisanship.”

Original story: 

In a speech in which he touted tax cuts he said have already brought new prosperity to the country, President Donald Trump on Monday took dead aim at Democrats, who he called “treasonous” for not applauding him when he talked about the nation’s economic recovery during his State of the Union address.

“They were like death and un-American. Somebody says ‘treasonous.’ Trump said, “Can we call that treason? Why not?”

“They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,” he added.

First lady Melania Trump at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati

Trump rarely hesitates to criticize the opposite party, but his use of words like treason stood out.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, called Trump’s words “hate-filled.”

“(His) divisive politics are what’s truly un-American,” Pepper said.

RELATED: President Donald Trump in Cincy: Improve roads, waterways across U.S.

Trump spoke to a friendly audience that included workers, elected officials and others at Sheffer Corp., a Blue Ash manufacturer of hydraulic and custom cylinders

“Your taxes are going way down and right now for the first time in a long time…factories are coming back, everything’s coming back,” said Trump. “They all want to be where the action is. America is once again open for business.”

He made no mention of the Dow Jones Industrial average, which has struggled in recent days and plunged more than 1,000 points Monday.

The speech had elements of the campaign trail, with Trump taking aim at his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

“Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, they want to raise your taxes. They don’t want to give it to the military,” said Trump, urging people to vote against Democrats in the 2018 mid-term elections.

He called Pelosi “our secret weapon.”

“I hope they don’t change her,” Trump said.

Trump will be in Cincinnati today

A Democratic National Committee official said Republicans will use tax cuts as “an excuse to slash funding for Social Security, education, Medicare and Medicaid, opioid treatment, and other critical programs families rely on.”

“Today in Cincinnati, Donald Trump will falsely claim his massive corporate tax breaks are benefiting working Ohioans. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Mandy McClure, Democratic National Committee Midwest regional press secretary. “In reality, the Trump tax is a complete rip-off for the 1.6 million Ohioans who will see their taxes go up over the next decade, while corporations win big.”

The visit came on a week when Congress faces another deadline for shutting down the federal government. Immigration is one of the sticking points between the two parties, and Trump accused Democrats of not wanting border security. He added: “We’re building a wall.”

As the president spoke, First Lady Melania Trump visited Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The First Lady spoke to doctors who treat babies born to opioid-addicted mothers.

During his speech the president said the nation will “prevail” in its battle against the opioid addiction crisis.

“We have to stop drugs from pouring across our border,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Jim Rennaci, R-Wadsworth, accompanied Trump to Ohio on Air Force One, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and they joined U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on the tour of Sheffer.

Several reporters shouted questions but Trump did not answer as he spoke to company employees about equipment and tools.

Fellow elected Republicans in the audience included Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running for governor; and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The White House did not provide a crowd estimate.

Renacci, who left the race for governor to run in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, has said he entered the race because Trump asked him too. Trump called Renacci “a terrific guy and a friend of mine from day one.”

He did not offer an outright endorsement, but at one point said of Renacci: “We want to get Jim in.’

Of Renacci’s possible opponent in November, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Trump said, “Senator Brown voted against us” on the tax cut. “Just remember that — he voted against you.”

Trump applauded Sheffer employees for their grit, pride and determination “to do the job right” and he brought several business leaders and two employees up to talk about the tax cuts

Matt Schron, general manager Cleveland-based Jergens Inc., said the tax cut allows his company to spend more money on employees and its facility and to hire more people.

Air Force One landed at Lunken Airport around 1:30 p.m. 

Portman was waiting to meet the Trumps at the airport. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has been highly critcial of Trump since he ran against him for president, was not at the airport.

Staff writer Jack Torry contributed to this report.

First lady Melania Trump hods a child at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital on Monday. Staff photo by Lisa Powell
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport in Ohio, Feb. 5, 2018. The president is scheduled to speak about tax reform during a tour at the Sheffer Corporation in Ohio Monday, while the first lady will make a visit to the Cincinnati Children?s Hospital. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)(TOM BRENNER/NYT)
President Donald Trump and Melania Trump meet with Senator Rob Portman at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati. Photo by Lisa Powell.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for a trip to Cincinnati to promote his tax policy, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)(Evan Vucci/AP)

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Trump explodes on Twitter, demands new review of 2016 investigation

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 3:12 PM

Venting his frustration in a series of tweets on Sunday, President Donald Trump again demanded to know how the Justice Department, FBI, and Obama Administration handled questions of Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying he would request a new review specifically to see if an investigation was opened for ‘political purposes’ involving his campaign.

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the President said.

It was one of a number of tweets where Mr. Trump flashed aggravation with the investigation into questions of Russian interference in the 2016 elections this weekend, as he repeated his charge that the feds had gone easy on Hillary Clinton and Democrats, while focusing investigative resources on his own campaign.

What seemingly set off Mr. Trump on Sunday was a report in the New York Times, which said Donald Trump Jr. had held a meeting at Trump Tower in the months before the elections, to hear an offer of help from emissaries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World,” the President tweeted.

The President’s call for a review of how the FBI handled questions about Russian interference is already the subject of a review inside the Justice Department – it wasn’t clear how this request would be dealt with by officials.

“There are rules,” said Carrie Cordero, a former Justice Department national security lawyer, who is now a professor at Georgetown University Law School.

In Congress, Democrats saw the President’s tweets as a signal of one thing – that he’s worried about what investigators are finding out about the 2016 probe, as they raised questions of whether the President is trying to exert political pressure on the Justice Department.

“The President has sent 8 tweets in 5 hours on Hillary and the Mueller investigation,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “He is unhinged.”

“A President who has nothing to hide would not have done another series of tweets this Sunday Morning smearing the DOJ investigation,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).

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Farm bill derailed over House GOP battle on immigration

Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 4:13 PM

Unable to broker an agreement on a schedule for votes on bills dealing with immigration, a simmering internal fight among Republicans on that hot button issue boiled over on the House floor Friday, resulting in the defeat of a major farm policy bill, with the outcome raising the chances that the House will have a wide open showdown over DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in June.

A frustrated House Speaker Paul Ryan stood with his arms folded in the Well of the House as the 213-198 rejection of the Farm Bill was an embarrassing reminder of the inability of GOP leaders to forge an immigration bill that can pass Congress – and get the support of the President.

“I don’t know if the Freedom Caucus is ever going to say ‘yes’ to anything,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), as many Republicans blamed the group of more conservative GOP lawmakers for opposing the Farm Bill, in an effort to get a vote on an immigration bill that they would support.

“We had an agreement yesterday,” said Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). “They pulled back off of that agreement.”

There were 30 Republicans who voted against the Farm Bill, for a mixture of reasons. Some over immigration, some because it spent too much, while there was also a group of more moderate Republicans who opposed changes in work requirements in the food stamp program.

“It doesn’t actually save money,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH). “In the first five years of the bill, it spends more money.”

For others, their opposition had nothing to do with farm policy.

“I think at this point, we really just need to deal with immigration,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the head of the House Freedom Caucus. “Hopefully we’ll fix the Farm Bill and the immigration bill.”

“My main focus was making sure we do immigration policy right,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Those type of comments sparked finger pointing from fellow Republicans.

“When you have people like Jim Jordan taking down the Farm Bill for other issues, they’re acting just like Chuck Schumer and the Democrats over in the Senate,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH).

In the aftermath of the vote, Republicans who have pressed a ‘discharge petition’ to force action on immigration said their efforts were not over.

“What we have been working on most of the week is a timeline, a date certain, when we bring most of this up,” Rep. Denham told reporters, as he predicted there would be 218 signatures soon, which would force action on immigration.

Under the plan, four different immigration bills would be in order, giving all sides an opportunity to bring up their issues – but Denham says the final outcome must be something that allows “Dreamers” a pathway to citizenship, and includes serious border security measures.

“We are now working on the substance of that bill, and trying to come together on a 218-bipartisan bill,” Denham added, saying he was working with the White House as well.

“Ultimately we want to have something we not only put on the President’s desk, but one the President will actually support,” Denham said.

Once there are 218 signatures, that will start a clock for action in June.

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Trump expresses support for victims of Texas school shooting

Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 1:13 PM

In the wake of shooting at a high school in Texas, President Donald Trump on Friday expressed the grief of the nation, telling the families of the victims, “We’re with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever,” as Mr. Trump bemoaned what has become a familiar occurrence, a mass shooting involving young students.

“This has been going on too long in our country,” the President said in the East Room of the White House. “Too many years. Too many decades.”

“My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others,” Mr. Trump added.

Mr. Trump’s message echoed his words after a mass shooting late last year in Parkland, Florida, which set off a loud political response.

“Everyone must work together, at every level of government, to keep our children safe,” the President said.

“I’m praying for all of the victims and their families and loved ones,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was seriously wounded in a gun attack last year on a group of Republican lawmakers, gathered for an early morning baseball practice outside of Washington, D.C.

“This is a senseless tragedy,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).

News of the shooting spread as the U.S. House was wrapping up work for the week, as Democrats swiftly demanded action in the Congress on measures dealing with gun violence.

“Children’s lives are being cut short by senseless gun violence,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA). “It is past time for Congress to act to prevent more innocent deaths.”

“We have to stop this,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).

“We are not powerless,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “We are supposed to be leaders and take action.”

“Congress and Trump must finally have the courage to stand up to the NRA and do what the American people want,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “Enough is enough!”

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Immigration debate roils Republicans again in Congress

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 10:27 PM

An internal wrestling match over the best path forward on immigration left various factions of Republicans in the House increasingly at odds with each other Thursday, imperiling approval of a major farm policy bill, as GOP leaders struggled to prevent an arcane rules maneuver from being used to force a vote on the DACA program.

“What we’ve been trying to do is find an immigration bill that has 218 votes,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “We’ve been laboring to get to 218.”

“It’s clear that we don’t have 218 for a specific bill,” Ryan told reporters, the first real public admission by GOP leaders that a plan favored by President Trump is not going to make it through the House without changes.

“We’re working in earnest with our members to try to address all of their concerns,” the Speaker added, as meetings in the Capitol among various Republicans stretched into the night.

On one hand, more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus were trying to get GOP leaders to agree to bring up an immigration bill backed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) – even though it won’t have enough votes to pass – doing all they can to avoid a vote on a plan which would allow illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to get on a pathway to citizenship in the United States, an idea that was sure to draw support from Democrats.

While over 130 Democrats on Thursday signed onto a special “discharge petition,” which would force votes on four different immigration plans, the key figure was still the number of GOP signatures, which remained at 20.

A combination of 25 Republicans – and all 193 Democrats – would set in motion a procedural push on immigration which GOP leaders want to avoid, because it might only mean a victory for a bill dealing with DACA, and not measures called for by the President on illegal immigration.

These are the 20 GOP lawmakers who have signed on so far:



One solution being floated was a minimal immigration bill dealing with DACA and border security – but the problem for the GOP in the House is fairly straightforward – if a bill does nothing on DACA it loses certain votes, and if you add DACA in, that pushes other Republicans away.

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