A week and a half after former President Donald Trump endorsed Gov. Mike DeWine’s reelection bid, the Republican governor plans to be at a cross-country meet cheering on his granddaughters than a rally with the ex-president.
“It’s a special night for us,” DeWine told the Vindicator. “They’re running under the lights, which is kind of unusual for cross country.”
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DeWine’s campaign did not immediately respond to questions about whether DeWine would meet Trump in Ohio or whether Lt. Gov. Jon Husted would attend the rally.
DeWine hasn’t appeared at a Trump rally in years. In April, DeWine contracted COVID-19 about a week before Trump’s event in Delaware County. But before that, the governor planned to attend celebrations for former President Ulysses S. Grant’s 200th birthday instead.
In August 2020, DeWine had a false positive COVID-19 test hours before visiting Trump, canceling the meeting. In September 2020, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted attended a Trump rally in Vandalia, but Trump supporters booed him when he suggested they wear masks.
The relationship between Trump and DeWine is complicated. On one hand, DeWine backed Trump’s election and reelection bids, serving as a co-chairman of the former president’s campaign. Trump twice endorsed DeWine for governor. And DeWine praised Trump’s assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But DeWine also acknowledged that Democratic President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and said Trump “poured gas on the fire” of the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. Trump once hinted at a primary challenge for DeWine in a tweet.
Trump is holding a rally at 7 p.m. Saturday in Youngstown with U.S. Senate hopeful J.D. Vance and other endorsed candidates. Congressional candidates Max Miller, Madison Gesiotto Gilbert and J.R. Majewski are among the scheduled speakers.
Jessie Balmert is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.