New GOP Senate candidate defends Trump’s racism: ‘Let’s not judge the president on what he says’

Hot takes right out of the gate from Rep. Jim Renacci in Ohio.

Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, takes questions at a campaign stop at the Timken Company. CREDIT: Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, takes questions at a campaign stop at the Timken Company. CREDIT: Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) is off to a strong start in the Ohio Senate race, arguing on Fox Friday morning that we should not judge President Trump on “what he says.”

Asked about Trump’s “shithole countries” comment — about accepting immigrants from majority-black countries — Renacci said, “Well, look, I’ve said all along, the president many times says what people are thinking.”

Renacci went on, saying that “as a business guy,” he’s learned you have to be careful what you say “because people pick everything up.” But, Renacci said, that Trump hasn’t learned that lesson is what makes Trump great.

“It’s difficult, and I know it’s difficult for the president, because many times you want to say what you’re thinking,” the congressman said, as the Fox News host murmured continual agreement. “But in the end, I know a lot of times he’s saying what people are thinking.”

Renacci capped his defense of the president’s racist remarks saying, “Look, I always say judge the president after four years. Let’s judge the president after what we’ve done. Let’s not judge the president on what he says.”

Renacci’s defense of the president comes just one day after he announced he would be running for Senate at the president’s urging Thursday. The congressman was running for governor but left the race after Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel abruptly dropped out of the Republican Senate primary last week, leaving the party scrambling to find a viable candidate in the competitive state.

“As soon as the president got on board, the [National Republican Senatorial Committee], the [Republican National Committee], they all wanted me to get on board,” Renacci told cleveland.com Thursday. “They all wanted me to come on board. But really being asked by the president was the reason to get in this race.”

And Renacci has vowed that, if elected, he will defend Trump’s agenda at all costs.

“While my strong distaste for Washington and the political establishment is as fervent as ever, so too is my commitment to advancing the President’s agenda for a stronger and more prosperous America,” Renacci said Thursday when he announced his candidacy. “And for that reason, I’ve agreed to answer the call to service and enter the race for United States Senate.”

Renacci isn’t the only Senate hopeful running as a Trump acolyte. Earlier this week in Arizona, disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who ran a jail he described as a “concentration camp,” where he tortured hundreds of immigrants and minorities, has jumped into the race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is retiring.

“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” Arpaio told The Washington Examiner when he announced his candidacy. “I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that everyday, anyway… I just want to do everything I can to support our president.”

The strategy — for both Arpaio and Renacci —  is a questionable one. Trump’s approval rating has been hovering around 39 percent nationally, and the most recent numbers out of Ohio have Trump sitting around a 54 percent disapproval rate. The president’s popularity has also dipped in most red states.

There are other signs of a coming Democratic wave on the horizon, too. As of Wednesday, a record 30 House Republicans have announced they will be retiring ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, including both Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Darrell Issa (R-CA), both seats that could be vital in Democrat’s efforts to take back the House.