The Donald Trump campaign broke with the Republican Party chairman in the critical battleground state of Ohio just 23 days before the presidential election.
CNN reports that in a letter to the Ohio Republican party’s central committee, Trump’s Ohio state director, Bob Paduchik, slammed Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges for wavering in his support for Trump in a series of recent interviews and announced that Borges “no longer has any affiliation with the Trump-Pence campaign”:
“Mr. Trump told me, ‘This is why people have lost faith in the establishment and party leaders.’ I have to agree with him. Too often some leaders of our party have been quick to bail on candidates and principles; it’s why our nation is on the wrong track,” Paduchik said.
The break came after Borges said in a series of interviews that he was unsure whether he would vote for Trump and said that he had been urging the Republican nominee to also stop attacking fellow Republicans, as Trump has done this week in the wake of top Republicans defecting from his campaign.
At least two Ohio state central committee members came to Borges’ defense:
“We are poised to win elections up and down the ballot for Republicans this year in Ohio, just like we did in 2014 under Chairman Borges’ leadership,” committee member Jo Ann Davidson said.
Jim Simon, another committeeman, said the election cycle has been “difficult and challenging … unlike any I’ve ever seen.”
“Matt has handled it perfectly,” Simon said. “Drawing fire away from our candidates and officeholders is the chairman’s job, which is something I’m sure Bob (Paduchik) doesn’t understand.”
As CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Sara Murray note, the rift could be damaging to Trump’s receding chances of winning the presidency, as Ohio is the battleground state where Trump remains best positioned for victory.
And Borges is right to urge The Donald to stop attacking Republicans. If Trump has any chance to still beat Hillary Clinton he must instead focus on the policy differences between himself and Hillary. Trump’s attacks on Republicans only divide the party even more and his attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton are not effective.