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Gowdy: Lack of agenda led to Republicans’ electoral losses

By DAVID SKOLNICK

Staff writer

CANFIELD — Ex-U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy said Republicans should blame themselves for losing control of the House, Senate and White House.

Speaking Friday at the Mahoning County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner, Gowdy, a former four-term House member from South Carolina and current Fox News contributor, said after the 2016 election, Republicans “had everything you need” to lead the country “except an agenda.”

That failure cost Republicans control of the executive and legislative branches, Gowdy said.

“In four short years, we lost” all of it, he said. “So where are we? We had it all, and to me, we squandered the opportunity.”

Gowdy’s speech was in stark contrast to most Republicans who speak at GOP dinners in the Mahoning Valley and criticize — and often mock — Democrats.

It was also quite different than the speech given earlier Friday at the dinner by North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson to the crowd at Waypoint 4180 in Canfield. There were about 540 people at the sold-out dinner.

Gowdy, a former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he’s optimistic that Republicans can gain control of the House next year and the Senate likely in 2024.

But Republicans must deliver, he said.

“You can’t overpromise and not meet expectations,” Gowdy said.

He added: “We used to be the party of limited government. It’s a tough argument to make” now.

While a Donald Trump supporter, Gowdy took a different tone Friday than the ex-president.

“When it comes to persuasion, insults don’t work,” Gowdy said. “You cannot insult someone into changing their mind.”

Republicans need to convince voters to give the party another chance at leadership, Gowdy said.

“We need to tell people what we believe and why we believe it,” he said.

Earlier Friday, Robinson, who’s been lieutenant governor of North Carolina since January and is giving serious consideration to running for the U.S. Senate next year, criticized the mainstream media and Democrats.

He praised Republicans for ending slavery, stopping Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the South and getting women the right to vote.

He insulted President Joe Biden, a Democrat, saying he “wasn’t that bright in his 30s” and he’s only gotten worse.

“If you look at Joe Biden now, he is simply not there,” Robinson said.

Robinson also questioned the fact that Biden received more than 80 million votes in the last election.

He said: “America traded a Corvette (Trump) for a Yugo,” meaning Biden.

Robinson falsely stated that Dr. Seuss’ “If I Ran the Zoo” book was banned when his estate voluntarily stopped publishing it in March because of what some consider racist images in the book.

He is the first African-American lieutenant governor in North Carolina’s history.

Robinson “has a polarizing social media presence and, at one point, backed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during a taped interview with the head of the controversial Unification Church, which some consider a cult,” according to The News & Observer, a Raleigh, N.C., newspaper.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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