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Ohio GOP Leaders Weigh In On Trump's First Weeks In Office

Ohio Statehouse News Bureau

President Donald Trump is wrapping up his third week in the White House. Since the inauguration Jan. 20, the president has issued a slew of executive orders on a range of issues, including immigration, national security, trade and health care, sparking mass protests around the country, and pushback from mostly Democratic lawmakers. 

In Ohio, there have been mixed reviews on some of Trump’s executive orders, though many Miami Valley GOP leaders remain optimistic about the next four years. 

During a recent budget-talk stop in Dayton, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was asked by a reporter to comment on Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration. The order temporarily banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, and all refugees for 120 days.

Kasich declined to comment, instead referring the reporter to an earlier statement his office released, calling Trump’s move on immigration “ham-handed” and confusing.

Other Miami Valley GOP lawmakers have been less critical of Trump’s flurry of early executive orders.

“He’s had a strong start, a fast start, and that’s what you expect from a president in their first 100 days,” says 42nd District Republican State Representative Niraj Antani.

Antani says the president is doing the job many voters elected him to do.

“People need to understand that President Trump was a change candidate, that many people felt dissatisfied with the eight years that President Obama was in office, and that they wanted change. And that’s what this president is going to deliver.”

For his part, U.S. Senator Rob Portman has been somewhat more critical.

Credit Press photo

Portman characterized the implementation of Trump’s immigration order as, "an extreme vetting proposal that didn't get the vetting it should have had, and as a result in the implementation we've seen some problems."

In a recent conference call Portman urged caution, telling reporters the president should have had more key advisors in place before issuing the executive order.

“I hope we will also have an opportunity now to come up with a process that’s more fair and that does focus on strengthening the visa-vetting process during this short term period, but let’s do it consistent with our values and in a way that’s fair to everybody." 

2016 Ohio Voting Graphic
Credit New York Times

Trump handily won majorities across Ohio, and in many Miami Valley counties. Northwest of Dayton in Hancock County, more than 67 percent of voters went for Trump.

Linda Casey is president of the Hancock County Women Republicans. She also serves with the Ohio Federation of Republican Women.

Casey acknowledges many Americans seem surprised by Trump’s swift action upon taking office.

“Which is stunning a lot of people who thought that, as many presidents in the past, there are a lot of campaign promises but very little follow through,” she says.

Casey likes the pace the president is setting so far and says she voted for the president’s campaign message promising change -- and that’s exactly what she’s hoping to see more of from Trump over the next four years.

“Given an opportunity to show what he can do, I believe this country will improve -- our economy will improve, our security will improve, the overall lifestyle in this country will improve.” 

But in the meantime, with the country facing a steep political divide, the battles continue over Trump’s policies and cabinet picks.