Several Republican down-ballot candidates have been conflicted on how to handle the man at the top of their ticket, Donald Trump. This is especially true after last week, when lewd comments Trump made about women in 2005 were leaked to the Washington Post.
For example, Senator Pat Toomey still hasn’t said (or decided) if he will vote for his party’s nominee.
The GOP nominee for PA State Treasurer Otto Voit, however, has no such reservations.
Voit was one of the introductory speakers before Trump’s remarks in Wilkes-Barre on Monday.
“I will not waver nor will I back down in my support of Donald J. Trump!” Voit declared.
The campaign of Joe Torsella, Democratic nominee for State Treasurer, jumped on these comments.
“Last night, my opponent said he will neither ‘waver nor back down’ from his support for Donald Trump,” Torsella stated. “Otto Voit demanded the jailing of Hillary Clinton and her political supporters. This is not locker room talk. Unfortunately, this is par for the course, as Donald Trump has used hate speech and disgusting personal attacks. Otto Voit has traveled across the state and not only refused to denounce Trump’s disqualifying behavior – but wholeheartedly participated in and endorsed it.”
During his speech last Monday, Voit also led the attendees in a “Lock her up!” chant directed at Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary’s next rally is going to be from a prison!” Voit asserted.
The nominee also blasted CNN, which led to the crowd turning around and booing the assembled press corps.
“Then let’s send a message to the Clinton News Network right now – that ‘We want Trump! We want Trump! We want Trump!’” he stated.
Calling CNN the “Clinton News Network” is a conservative tradition that goes all the way back to the 1992 presidential campaign. It was recently re-popularized by Trump. It is worth noting, however, that the current President of CNN is Jeff Zucker, who also served as President of NBC when the network launched Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice”.
Torsella’s campaign also attacked Voit for his claim that President Obama is executing “socialist policies and one-world order policies.”
“As the Founding CEO and former President of the National Constitution Center, I find Otto Voit’s behavior in the past 24 hours — including demanding and joking about the for the incarceration of one’s political opponents and standing with Trump as he dog whistles about ‘other communities’ — deeply disturbing,” Torsella continued. “The framers of our Constitution gathered here, in Pennsylvania, and decided we should be, ‘We, the People.’ Not ‘Us, some of the People, and Them, those other People.’ The Constitution applies to all of us — no matter where we come from, what political differences we have, or what we look like. Otto Voit should immediately apologize to everyone in the Commonwealth and denounce Donald Trump.”
PoliticsPA reached out to the Voit campaign and received the following response from the candidate.
“I’m not running to talk about Trump and Clinton. I am making my case for who is best suited to be PA Treasurer. I don’t agree with the comments Donald Trump said in that video. They are appalling. However, I have never been a follower. I don’t feel the need to tweet my beliefs just because others are,” Voit stated. “Hillary Clinton is not an acceptable alternative. Her past actions, deceit and arrogance are not what this country needs. We absolutely cannot accept Clinton’s record of corruption.”