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Reporter to KJP: Why Didn't Ohio Democratic Candidates Join Biden in Cleveland?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Two Democratic candidates were noticeably absent from President Biden’s event in Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday, highlighting just how politically toxic he’s become to his own party.


While Sen. Sherrod Brown and other prominent Democrats were in attendance for Biden’s remarks on a plan to fix multiemployer pension funds, Rep. Tim Ryan, who’s running for Senate, and gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley were nowhere to be seen. 

Asked about their absences, all White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was able to say was that they’re in “close contact.” She then came back to the other Democrats present, saying, “I think that counts for something.”

Q    Karine, on Ohio: You know, Tim Ryan, the Senate candidate, is not joining the President today and neither is the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Nan Whaley. 

I know you listed some people who are, but those are the main statewide candidates.  And what does that say about the President’s clout in Ohio that they’re — they’re not joining him today?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I’ll say this: We’re in close contact with Congressman Tim Ryan in particular and work with him, and also — also Nan Whaley.

We’ve worked — we’ve worked closely with him on — just as it relates to Tim Ryan — on ver- — on a variety of issues.  And he released a statement in strong support of the actions we’re taking through the American Rescue Plan to protect American retirees. 

And though he can’t be there with us today, one of the things that the President looks forward to is to talk about building an economy around the power and possibilities of working families and providing financial relief to millions of workers in Ohio and the rest of the country.

I just listed out a long list of other elected officials who will be with him on this trip.  And so, I think that counts for something as well. 

And so, again, Tim Ryan put out — put out a statement supporting — supporting his trip, and we’re in constant communication with (inaudible). (The White House)


Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told Fox News it's a sign about the administration's policy decisions. 

"Where's Tim Ryan? I don't think he's going to be with President Biden today. So the United States president makes the sixth trip to your state, you're running for United States Senate, and you're not going to show up?" he wondered. "I think that tells you everything about where this administration is in everything that they've done policy-wise, how wrong it's turned out to be."


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