Trump Campaign Splits With Top GOP Official in Ohio
Donald Trump’s campaign is cutting ties with Ohio’s Republican Party chairman after the state GOP leader repeatedly and publicly criticized Trump.
On Saturday, Bob Paduchik, a GOP strategist who is directing Trump’s campaign in the must-win swing state, wrote a two-page letter to Ohio’s Republican Party committee informing them that Matt Borges, the state GOP chairman, “does not represent or speak for the candidate and he no longer has any affiliation with the Trump-Pence campaign.”
Paduchik points to as a series of critical comments Borges has made about Trump in recent days. Last week, following revelations that Trump had once bragged about sexually assaulting women, Borges told reporters that he was unsure if he would be voting for the Republican nominee.
“I spoke with Mr. Trump on Thursday and he is very disappointed in Matt’s duplicity. 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 our party and our principles; it’s why our nation is on the wrong track.”
The letter is particularly surprising because Ohio is key to Trump’s presidential hopes; without winning the state’s 18 electoral votes, most Republicans believe, he has little or no path to winning the White House.
Borges did not respond to a request for comment.
The letter is the latest chapter in a tension-filled relationship between Trump and Republican leaders in Ohio. This summer, Trump’s campaign attacked Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who competed against him in the Republican primary, for refusing to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland. Kasich has refused to endorse Trump, and many of the governor’s top political aides aren’t working for the nominee.
Borges, a close Kasich ally who is considering waging a bid for Republican National Committee chair, has long been critical of how Trump is running his campaign. He has publicly argued that Trump has a tough path to winning Ohio.
In the letter, Paduchik accuses Borges of conducting a “self-promotional media tour with state and national outlets to criticize our party’s nominee. I have no idea what game he is playing. Some Ohio Republicans have described it as disgraceful, I find it utterly bizarre.”
Borges fired back several hours later in a letter of his own to state party members, pointing out that he worked closely with Trump aides and that the nominee’s staffers worked in Ohio GOP headquarters.
He also had harsh words for Paduchik, who he said hadn’t raised any concerns until he “shared them publicly today.”
“Let me be clear, I am never going to allow the bruised ego of a staffer to get in the way of my duty as the Ohio Republican Party Chairman,” he added.