President Trump Came To Cleveland, So Where Was Rob Frost?

When Air Force One touched down in Cleveland today, there was someone noticeably absent – Rob Frost.

It was quite telling that when President Trump descended from the airplane, he was greeted by Congressmen Renacci and Gibbs, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken, and Summit County GOP Chairman Bryan Williams. Even though Trump was in Frost’s home county, the embattled local Chairman was not there.

It’s interesting that Bryan Williams was there. Frost’s Executive Director Becca Armstrong initially pulled State Central Committee petitions against Committeewoman Debbie Walsh, an ally of Bryan Williams. Like Williams, Walsh is also loyal to Timken. After Cleveland.com reported about Armstrong’s unusual candidacy, she dropped out.

When the President was in Cuyahoga County, Williams was there but Frost wasn’t. 

The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County Chair may have found himself to be a persona non grata after making a power play by recruiting candidates for State Central Committee, in what clearly appears to be an attempt to take control of the party.

The races that Frost apparently targeted are currently filled with Jane Timken loyalists. For example, Gene Allen is challenging Scott Kayser. Allen has been quite vocal in telling people that Frost recruited him to run. Kayser is a strong supporter of Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken and in his first term on the Committee.

Frost had Alex Thomas help him recruit these candidates. Thomas, who is an SCC candidate himself, works at Roetzel and Andress with former ORP Chairman Matt Borges. Prior to that, he worked closely with John Kasich.

Frost tried to distance himself from the unpopular Governor at last week’s RPCC Central and Executive Committee meeting. That’s a hard pill to swallow as Kasich appointed Frost to the Kent State Board of Trustees just a few days prior.

John Kasich rules with an iron fist and a vindictive attitude. If Frost truly had been as disgusted with the Ohio Governor as he claimed to be, it’s hard to believe that Kasich would appoint him to anything.

It is often muttered that Rob Frost is the best Chairman the Cuyahoga Democrats could ask for. His repeated absence appears to be reinforcing that point.

These races are getting more interesting as primary election closes in.

Matt Borges Exposed After Being Ditched By Trump Campaign

The Trump campaign has officially tossed Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges to the wind. In a letter to the ORP State Central Committee members who vote for Chairman, Trump’s Ohio director, Robert Paduchik said that Borges no longer has a relationship with the campaign. In doing so, Paduchik has thrown a monkey wrench into Borges’ ambitious goals within the national party and caused him some trouble within the rank and file of Ohio Republicans.

This isn’t much of a shocker as Borges has spent that last couple of weeks on a media tour saying he isn’t sure he will even vote for the presidential nominee of the party which he chairs. Borges’ own wife told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “Trump was so bad, he made the dog throw up.”

While there are some people who aren’t enthused with the nominee, it is the job of the chairman to support him. Borges hasn’t gotten over the embarrassing failure of John Kasich’s campaign, so this really isn’t that shocking. Since Trump is a non traditional nominee, it has given Borges the opportunity to act publicly as he would privately. If Borges can’t do his job, he should resign. This isn’t a private citizen, this is the Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. It is his job to support the nominee. If he can’t, then he should resign. But, taking a closer look at the situation will give you a better view of the agenda.

Borges instead is attempting to grab the mantle of the Never Trump movement and become the next RNC Chair. If Hillary Clinton is the next president, then Reince Priebus is out, so this is part of the reason why there is this backlash. What you are seeing publicly this year is the manipulation and gaming that typically goes on behind the scenes of the party. The only thing abnormal about it is that it is playing out in public. This is about power more than it is about doing what’s right.

Borges is a Kasich loyalist. Like Borges, Kasich has been plotting his next move. It’s apparent that he wants to run again. With Borges as the RNC Chair, perhaps a primary could be manipulated in Kasich’s favor.

Kasich and his hand picked chairman don’t seem to understand that Kasich’s prolonged vanity campaign helped Trump win the nomination by dividing the vote. It was obvious to anyone who wasn’t a Kasich supporter that his campaign wasn’t going anywhere, but he remained in the race. John Kasich’s ambitions and his consultants drive to continue a failed campaign handed states like Virginia to Trump and helped set up this situation.

I always tell people that there is more fighting within a party than between the two parties. That is what is being played out now. The curtain was pulled back a bit earlier this year when State Treasurer Josh Mandel endorsed Marco Rubio. Borges referred to Mandel as a “bit player” for supporting a candidate who wasn’t John Kasich. Believe me when I say that scorecards are kept with regards to who someone supports in a primary.

In a sour reply, Borges referred to Paduchik as a “staffer.” This is typical Borges. He tries to demean people he is threatened by. Paduchik was Rob Portman’s 2010 campaign manager and was the Ohio point person for Bush Cheney in 2000 and 2004. He was running campaigns before Borges even had his criminal record expunged or even had tax liens.

Just a few weeks ago, Borges looked to be playing the role of Trump fan boy. Some pictures were being texted around by people who were laughing that Kasich would be blowing his whistle and reprimanding the Ohio Republican Party Chairman for supporting the Republican presidential nominee.

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Within days, Borges started the Trump bashing circuit. If Hillary wins and Borges becomes RNC Chair, then he can try to give Kasich the upper hand in the 2020 primary. That’s what all of this is about. This isn’t about character, it’s about manipulating for more power. Kasich made Borges. Borges owes him.

Paduchik’s letter has closed another door on Matt’s face. Since Borges hadn’t outright disavowed Trump, if Trump wins Ohio, Borges could have attempted to take credit for it in a run for RNC Chair. Now he no longer can.

Paduchik has also left Borges vulnerable to State Central Committee members who are unhappy with how the presidential race has been handled by the Ohio Republican Party. One told me, “I was supportive of Governor Kasich until his stunt at the convention. The ORP has done an embarrassing job the past few months. Hard questions need to be answered.”

It doesn’t matter what your feelings are about Trump. The Chairman has a job and if he can’t do that job, he should resign. Will the State Central Committee members do the jobs they were elected to or will they also bow down and kiss John Kasich’s ring?

One Liberal East Coast Republican Endorses Another For President

This afternoon (February 26th) Chris Christie, former GOP candidate for President, announced his endorsement of Donald Trump for President. On the surface this is unsurprising: Christie has vocalized many times his deep dislike for Trump’s two main rivals: Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Christie also shares a total disregard for conservative principles that Trump has embraced during this campaign (and his whole life for that matter) which is polar opposite of the values that both Rubio and Cruz have held and stood for during their political careers.

While Christie was unsuccessful with his own campaign, he now expects to ride Trump’s coattails for the Vice-President spot on Trump’s ticket.

It is not surprising to see how hypocritical and opportunistic both of these men can be on the campaign trail. I say this not because they are former opponents, but because they have attacked and demeaned each other with a great deal of vigor. Apparently Christie has forgiven Trump’s assertion from earlier this year that Christie was a “little boy” during President Obama’s visit to new Jersey, as well as his many other insults. Christie himself has insulted Trump many times: starting with calling Trump self-absorbed (November 2015), criticizing Trump’s behavior on Twitter (November 2015), suggesting that his temperament as shown on reality TV was not fit for the Oval Office (December 2015), and asserting that Trump had no details behind any of his grand plans (January 2016). But now Christie has sold out to Trump for a chance to be number 2 to Trump’s lunacy.

This seems familiar; it reminds me of Christie palling around with Obama like best friends a few years ago.

Trump is taking Christie’s endorsement happily, because he is worried about his chances. Before Thursday’s debate Trump has hardly had to stand up to any real, vigorous opposition. Jeb Bush had any sort of success challenging Trump on the issues. However, Jeb was largely unsuccessful due to his temperament. Jeb Bush is closer to the elder statesman: dignified, intelligent, but hardly combative. Unfortunately Bush was simply not up to the task of taking on Trump.

Last night another challenger emerged to take Trump to task, and Christie’s endorsement might suggest that the encounter rattled Trump.

Marco Rubio did not simply challenge Trump during the debate. Rubio took Trump to task, and eventually taunted him on his language and lack of details on policy. Donald Trump, in his own words, is used to winning. His frequent assertions to being a winner and making things great are almost reminiscent of a political version of Charlie Sheen. During the debate Rubio brought up Trump’s past failures, hammered him on policy, and mocked him for essentially being a spoiled rich kid. Trump did not take that well. Rubio has not let up either; during an event Friday morning Rubio went as far as to suggest that Trump wet himself during the debate.

Trump is not accustomed to such fierce criticism on the campaign trail from his opponents. His own tactics of personal attacks, innuendos, and being spoken over were employed successfully against him by both Rubio and Cruz. Trump left the debate shaken and decided to call in reinforcements in the form of Chris Christie. Trump has frequently trumpeted (no pun intended) his lack of endorsement by “the establishment”. That seems to be over.

This race deserves an even closer watch. And no, not the kind of watch that Trump would be selling if not for his multi-million dollar inheritance.

Trump goes off the deep end while Rubio continues to rise

It is becoming increasingly hard to discuss the Republican Primary and not mention Donald Trump. As usual the Donald is doing a fantastic job of keeping his visibility high. Whether it has been his remarks about a female candidate, or pulling his best interpretation of Hitler by suggesting American Muslims register with the government, Trump continues to show that he has no idea how to speak about real policy and is pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Has Trump finally overplayed his hand?

It’s hard to tell. While Trump’s poll numbers have not risen in the last two months, they haven’t fallen significantly either. Formerly, Carson was the second highest poled candidate after Trump. Now, with Quinnipiac’s most recent poll, Carson has dropped to a distant third with Rubio continuing his rise at 17%. Maybe this is due to Rubio’s likability, his policy knowledge, and shying away from personal attacks.

This primary for the Republican Party has been bizarre. Rubio is the road back to sanity.