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GOP senator: Trump ‘definitely the leader of the party’

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) returns to the Capitol from the White House on June 24 meeting with President Biden and members of a bipartisan group of Senators to discuss an infrastructure plan
Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) on Sunday said former President Trump is “definitely the leader” of the Republican Party, one day after Trump held his first post-presidential rally in Ohio.

Portman, asked by ABC’s “This Week” host Jon Karl about Trump, said the ex-president remains the party leader given his “high popularity among the Republican base.”

“That’s what you saw last night, I think. You saw a big turnout,” Portman said.

Karl noted that Portman did not attend the rally in his home state because he had a family commitment.

Trump, during the rally, denounced President Biden’s administration while praising the efforts of his administration and calling on his supporters to back Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.

Portman said the Republican Party and Trump should focus on two areas: policies, including Trump-era ones that “worked,” and plans that are “not working now.”

He said the party also had to be focused on regaining the House and Senate majorities in 2022.

Portman, who is among the 10 senators who cobbled together a framework deal on infrastructure spending this week, in January announced that he would not run for reelection to a third term in 2022, citing political partisanship as an element of his decision.

“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground,” Portman said.

“This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades,” he added.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Rob Portman

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