Sen. Portman shares thoughts on Trump during tour of Leetonia plant

LEETONIA, Ohio (WYTV) – Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman has been touring the state and he’s not always well-received. But when he showed up late Friday afternoon in Leetonia, there were no signs of protest.

Portman spent his evening touring the Pennex Aluminum plant.

He walked the assembly line, viewing it from various spots, stopping once to hold one of the brackets made for the auto industry.

“You might know that the steel companies in Ohio are now beginning to hire back a little bit, including the Valley, the Mahoning Valley,” Portman said.

Portman then held a town hall-style meeting with 50 Pennex employees. He talked about his opposition to the dumping of inexpensive, government subsidized steel from countries like China.

The senator discussed healthcare at length. When asked about his position on Rand Paul’s repeal and replacement of Obamacare, Portman said, “I don’t think he takes care of the Medicaid expansion and I think we have to do that here in Ohio.”

One man at the town hall has a son majoring in journalism at Kent State. He was concerned about President Trump’s constant criticism of the media.

“You know, you deal with the press every day, I’m sure it can’t be that adversarial. Trump says a lot of disparaging things. Is it really that bad?”

Portman defended the media, while also acknowledging a politician’s relationship with it can be difficult.

“The press doesn’t always treat you like you want to be treated, no question about that. Anybody in politics will say that, but they are an indispensable part of our democracy.”

As far as his views on the Trump administration so far, Portman said he is pleased with the pick of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, he said the immigration issue is off to a “rocky start” with Trump’s executive order.

“What I said at the time, right when they did it — the extreme vetting wasn’t well-vetted.”

Portman also talked about the opioid epidemic — reminding those at the meeting that more people die in Ohio from drug overdoses than anywhere else. He said drug education must start early so kids understand the dangers of drugs from the start.