Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, a U.S. Senate candidate, won't criticize President Donald Trump for calling some Democrats "treasonous" for sitting silently during his State-of-the-Union address.
Trump made the remark Monday at a suburban Cincinnati factory as Renacci sat nearby.
When asked Tuesday on Fox Business News if he would have preferred the president not use the word "treasonous," Renacci replied, "Somebody in the audience did say treasonous. I was sitting there and the president used that word because somebody else had mentioned it."
"As I traveled Ohio since the State of the Union that’s the first thing people say: the Democrats wouldn’t even stand when we were talking about the flag," Renacci said.
"They weren’t standing when we were talking about America. That is something Americans are saying back home. So I think the president was just relaying what a lot of people back home have been saying to me."
Trump blasted the Democrats for remaining seated and stoic while he touted low unemployment numbers for blacks and Hispanics. He did not say allege Democrats stayed seated during talk of the flag, although his campaign has put out a misleading series of juxtapositions of his statements and everyone clapping except the opposition party.
Last month, Renacci also defended Trump for remarks about "shithole" countries.
On a separate matter, Renacci told a Christian radio host Wednesday afternoon that he is "100% pro-life without exceptions, except for the life of the mother." That contradicts his handwritten response to a Dispatch questionnaire in December saying he is against abortion even "when the life of the woman is endangered."
In his weekly column last week, Renacci noted his support for the the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. He pointed out, "It is important to note that this legislation makes an exception if it is a case of rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is in danger."
Jack Torry and Darrel Rowland are reporters with the Columbus Dispatch.