Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday to complain that Washington doesn’t work because it is too political. Moments into the interview, he proved his own hypothesis.
Renacci, who is not seeking re-election to Congress in 2018 because he is running for governor, complained that the “career politicians” in Congress “continue to drive policy based on elections not future generations.” But when asked about Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and NFL players, Renacci had nothing negative to say. “Republicans in Ohio people like what the president is doing, like the direction he’s trying to get to. Again, he’s probably a little unfiltered, but that’s okay. People, a lot of times what they say is, ‘He’s saying what I think.’”
Asked whether those voters are fine with Trump taunting North Korea, he reiterated that his Republican constituents “believe that he’s speaking what they are thinking.” Pressed about whether he thinks that, in the middle of a possible nuclear showdown, perhaps the president shouldn’t always say everything on his mind, Renacci praised Trump as “not a career politician,” and said his voters “like the idea” that Trump is “doing what he’s doing.”
When pushed again on whether he thought this was “the right thing to be doing,” Renacci observed that the nation has been in danger from North Korea “for the last 6, 8, 10 years, as we’ve let this North Korea regime continue down the path.”
Watch the exchange:
He concluded that Trump’s hostile tweets are actually helping, because they have educated his constituents.
“Now [Trump is] talking about it and making sure people realize. Back home people didn’t think North Korea was as dangerous as it is.“
Renacci may be wrong about Ohio voters — a July Gallup poll found Trump’s approval is now underwater in the Buckeye State (47 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove), in a state he carried in 2016 with more than 52 percent support.
And despite his claims, Renacci may be aware of this. In June said he would not hold town halls because he didn’t want to hear people screaming.