Washington, DC: The surprise retirement of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a high-profile moderate close to the Sen. family and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), is the latest sign of an uproar in the Republican Party in wrestling. With its identity in the post-Trump era.
On the day Democrats ran an article of impeachment against the Senate and Republicans, with questions asked about the trial of former President Trump and his party’s future, Portman felt step-motherly with today’s political climate.
“Our country is polarized right now. It’s like a shirt and skin, isn’t it? This makes it more difficult to find that common ground because elected officials are not rewarded for it, ”he said at a press conference that he would leave the Senate in late 2022.
— Rob Portman (@robportman) January 4, 2021
“What they’ve been rewarded for is putting out red meat on a talk show. It’s not conducive to solving the serious problems we face as a country,” said Portman of the Bush White House, A veteran whose pro-business, a pro-business brand of Republicanism sometimes clashed with Trump’s “America First” nationalism.
Portman generally downplayed the impact of today’s politics in discussing his retirement. Still, his decision was interpreted as another sign of a rapidly evolving GOP across Washington that Trump’s A party, or a party that is similar to one, existed before Trump’s rise.
Portman’s former senior aide Jeff Sadowski said his former boss feels less comfortable in the Republican Party, overshadowed by the Trump era’s extreme rhetoric and vigorous style.
“I think it’s a sign that the party is focused on the people with the biggest mouths, not the ones with the best plans,” he said.
In February, the Senate will vote on whether to indict Trump on the House’s article of impeachment alleging that he incited a mob attacking the Capitol on 6 January.
A convict would need 67 votes, meaning at least 17 Republicans would have to join every Democrat. This is not very likely in an environment where any Trump crosses his supporters to take risks and takes on a tough primary challenge.
Republican strategists and political observers speculated Monday that Portman wanted to avoid the prospect of facing a more pro-Trump Republican primary challenger, such as firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio).
Darrell West said, “It seemed to me like he is worried about the cross current coming in 2022. He knows that Trump still has a stronghold in the Republican Party, and Portman will hardly face a primary challenge. ” The director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
Portman acknowledged feeling pressured on both sides as the Senate prepares for Trump’s second impeachment trial. Some constituents ask why he is not more vocal in his criticism of Trump and others seeking to find out Why he is not doing more to defend the former president.
“I get it from both sides. As you know, I have constantly talked when I have had disagreements with Donald Trump, and I have talked constantly when I agreed to a policy with him, for example, what I have talked about in terms of tax reform Regulatory relief, energy policy, ”he said.
“At a time when I have been very supportive on policy grounds, but the substance is one thing, and tone and style is another,” he said. He said, “I think we need to reduce it. And I constantly said that”
Other Senate Republicans have voiced concern about the party’s direction under Trump and called for it to rebuild its identity based on the principles defined during the Reagan-Bush era.
“Where is the Republican Party? Who really exemplifies the heart of the party. I think in many ways we are a party really struggling to identify, ”Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters on Friday.
He said, “We have a few people who have a solid identity with Trump and will probably continue to identify for years to come, but you have a lot of other people who didn’t really sell on Trump, but they took policies entirely. It Is accepted from. ”
Murkowski said she wanted Reagan to return to the “big-tent” approach in years of politics.
Sadowski noted that Portman still embraces concepts of lower taxes, more efficient government, less regulation and free trade that have been hallmarks of the GOP.
He said Portman’s retirement is a sign “there are too many people within the party who judge everything through a prism,? How does this affect Trump?” And “How does this affect the American economy and American families?”
Portman’s move comes after Republican Sen. Pat Tommy (PA), another laser-focused policy expert who prefers to work behind the scenes, announced in October that he would retire from politics in late 2022.
Like Portman, Tomei is known for his policy acumen and pragmatism and is a close associate and mentor of McConnell.
Sen. Richard Boor (R-N.C.), Another longtime McConnell aide, announced in 2016 that this would be his last term, and he is also expected to leave Congress at the end of next year.
Three retirements in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina allow Senate Democrats to add to their razor-thin majority in the midterm elections.
Now that he is not running for reunification, more eyes will fall on Portman as a possible GOP vote for compromise legislation on coronavirus relief and other measures.
Portman was one of more than a dozen senators who attended a phone call Sunday with White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese to discuss Biden’s proposed $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
“I have two years in my term now and I want to use that time to do a lot more,” said Portman, who became a top-ranking Republican in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.