2016-10-13 / Columns

Michigan GOP Raps Trump

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Cheers to Michigan Republican State Chairman Ronna Romney Mc- Daniel for a stern response Saturday to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s just-revealed lewd comments 11 years ago about women. She said:

“As a woman, as the mother of a 13-year-old daughter and an 11-yearold son, and as a Republican, I find Mr. Trump’s comments reprehensible and disgusting. Mr. Trump has apologized for the comments he made 11 years ago, but needs to do it again and again if he hopes to gain back any semblance of public trust.

“I am confident that Michiganders know that Donald Trump’s comments represent only himself, and other Republicans do not share his views.”

The issue stems from Friday’s leaked audiotape revelation to The Washington Post of Trump talking chummy to journalist Billy Bush (who’s now in the NBC morning Today show trio), in highly vulgar terms about kissing and groping a married woman.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” said Trump, who when campaigning last week in Metro Detroit on his fifth visit to Michigan since his nomination, said, among many attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, “She will put the White House up for sale, as she always does.”

As a CNN commentator said Friday after airing the audiotape revelation: “This is bottom of the barrel.” Indeed. Republicans across the land are critical of Trump, and some GOP congressional candidates won’t vote for him. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) says she will write in Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate.

It was a highly troubling thing for Trump, to say the least, to come out before Sunday’s second debate with Clinton.

A State Surrogate Surge For Clinton

During Clinton’s two-month absence from Michigan, this was a surrogate state for the ex-senator, including appearances by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea, and running mate Tim Kaine.

Contender Clinton, who had an 11-point lead last week in a Michigan poll over Republican Donald Trump, scheduled a Monday appearance this week in Detroit.

Clinton – Bill, not Hill – created quite a stir among Democrats and Republicans alike when in Flint last week he said the health-care law’s impact on those who had insurance before its enactment was “the craziest thing in the world.”

Democrats, especially those running for office, fretted. Republicans essentially said, “Told you so.”

Subsequently, Clinton clarified to say the law was right to have changed the way insurance was priced and sold so that people with so-called “preexisting conditions” also could purchase it. He said ObamaCare has done “a world of good.”

He also said his wife would create “more jobs, higher incomes, and less inequality.”

In a poll conducted September 10 through September 13 by EPIC-MRA, Hillary Clinton had a 3% lead over Trump. In the firm’s Detroit Free Press- WXYZ-TV October 1 through October 3 poll and reported Friday, it was a 43-32% lead for Clinton.

Congressional Race Heats Up

The hotly contested congressional 1st District race was highlighted last week when House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigned in Traverse City to tout retired Marine Lieutenant General Jack Bergman of Watersmeet in his race against Lon Johnson of Kalkaska County, former Michigan Democratic Chairman.

Ryan said: “We need men and women who are dedicated to securing our homeland and keeping us safe by going on offense. I can’t think of a better person than Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman to help us.”

The Johnson camp contends Bergman would help Ryan “privatize Social Security and turn federal Medicare dollars over to private insurance companies.”

Johnson says “I will defend these programs from politicians like Jack Bergman and Paul Ryan, who want to sell out our seniors and send their Social Security and Medicare dollars to Wall Street.”

It’s no wonder that both parties in Congress view the Bergman-Johnson race one of their top priorities.

In their first debate Friday in Traverse City, Johnson and Bergman agreed on a few issues but clashed on most. They both were critical of those who protest during playing of the national anthem at sports events, and both were staunch in supporting the Second Amendment on guns.

They sparred on veterans’ issues, how best to create jobs, and on such issues as the future of the Line 5 Pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac.

Bergman favors maintaining operation of the pipeline, unless independent study finds it is not safe. He said, “We need clean waters” and “We need jobs.”

Johnson said, “We are being asked to trust this Line 5 by the very same people who are responsible for the largest inland oil disaster in the history of the United States right here in Kalamazoo River in 2010.”

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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