'Akin to a Hostage Situation': Ohio County GOP Chair Resigns Over Trump Remarks at Putin Presser
A county Republican Party chairman in Ohio resigned after he watched President Donald Trump's press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Now-former Belmont County Republican Party Chairman Chris Gagin said Trump's decision to take Putin at his word regarding election interference while appearing to dismiss the American intelligence conclusion was "a bridge too far."
Gagin, whose county includes St. Clairsville and is directly adjacent to Wheeling, W.Va., said Trump is wildly popular in his area.
He said that the 2016 election shepherded the first Republican county commissioners in decades, but maintained his decision to leave the party chairmanship.
"This is classic damage control," Gagin said of Trump's clarification statement made Tuesday at a White House meeting.
"I don't think the credibility of this witness would hold up," the lawyer-by-trade said.
Gagin said the press conference in Finland was "more akin to a hostage situation" and that Trump should have taken advantage of being next to Putin and told him to his face that "I know what you did."
"I have to be in lockstep with the president's agenda [as chairman]," he said. "You can't recapture the gravitas the president had yesterday."
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