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

Donald Trump rally in Wellington, Ohio - 6/26/21

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.

Big crowd joined Donald Trump rally in Wellington, Ohio – 6/26/21

Trump, during the rally, called 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.

Big crowd joined Donald Trump rally in Wellington, Ohio – 6/26/21

Portman, 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.

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