Group urges locals to vote against Trump
YOUNGSTOWN — A group of longtime Ohio Republicans, called Operation Grant, is urging other Republicans not to vote to re-elect President Donald Trump — saying he’s bad for the nation.
“I’m encouraging Republicans to put country over party and vote for Joe Biden,” said Phil Heimlich, who served as a Hamilton County commissioner and Cincinnati councilman. “We’ve had enough of putting Vladmir Putin over the American people.”
Heimlich was among five Republicans who spoke Wednesday downtown in front of the Civil War monument against Trump, the GOP incumbent, and in support of Biden, the Democratic challenger.
The group, Heimlich said, is affiliated with the Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump, two other organizations of Republicans that are speaking out against the president’s re-election bid.
The group calls itself Operation Grant in honor of President Ulysses S. Grant, an Ohio Republican who helped unite the nation after the Civil War.
Heimlich called Trump a “serial liar” who “frightens me as a Republican, frightens me as an American.”
Mark Arnold, a retired Army brigadier general, said Trump has been a poor commander in chief who has “taken America to a dangerous place.”
He added: “As a Republican, it’s time for Joe Biden, a man of leadership and dignity.”
Reached for comment, Ohio Republican Party spokesman Evan Machan said: “No one cares about these former Republicans. Ohio stands firmly behind President Trump.”
Dan Lusheck, a Trump campaign spokesman, said: “Nobody cares. The president has record support from Republicans and will be re-elected in November.”
Polls show a tight race between Trump and Biden in Ohio. Trump won Ohio by 8.1 percent in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Also speaking Wednesday in Youngstown was Christopher Gibbs, a former Shelby County Republican Party chairman, who said he voted for Trump four years ago because he was “tired of our political leaders letting us down.”
He said: “I reasoned that there was nothing a novice president could do that our institutions and our Congress couldn’t fix. Here’s the punchline: Boy, was I wrong.”
Dennis Laich, a retired Army major general, said: “Our commander in chief is a sociopath who places America’s national security at risk.”