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Portman says he is focused on working with Trump

Senator says he hopes to look past disagreements

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday and was asked about the state of his party under President Donald Trump.

Host Chuck Todd asked Portman about the retirement speech by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, in which he called on his party to oppose Trump and his policies.

“When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’

What are we going to say?” Flake said in his remarks last week. “Mr. President, I rise today to say ‘enough.’”

Todd asked Portman if he shared Flake’s concerns that Trump is brining the Republican Party and the country into “an existential crisis.”

“President Trump was elected — duly elected, including winning by eight points in Ohio, as you know, which is an overwhelming victory in my state,” Portman, who stated he did not vote for the president in 2016, said. “We’ve got to be sure that he succeeds, because, when he succeeds, the country succeeds.”

Portman said he pledged to work with Trump, following the election.

“I said, ‘I’m going to work with him on tax reform, on addressing the opioid crisis,” Portman said. “And I think that’s our job. Our job is to actually get some things done here and help to influence the administration toward accomplishing things that people care about. “

Portman was asked by Todd if he still felt “character counts” in regards to Trump.

“Of course,” Portman said. “Yeah. Of course, character counts. And I don’t agree with every tweet. As you know, I’ve spoken up on occasion. And yet if you’re focused on the tweets and not focused on actually accomplishing what people are looking to have happen for them and their family, I think you are getting out of touch with the American people.”