Ohio Veterans Release Letter Calling on Portman to Retract Endorsement of Trump

Strickland joined Ohio veterans and Purple Heart recipients to urge Portman to renounce his endorsement of Trump after attacks on veterans and military families

GIRARD, OH –– Today, Ohio veterans and Purple Heart recipients joined Ted Strickland in the Youngstown area to release the following letter urging Senator Portman to retract his endorsement of Donald Trump following Trump’s attacks on the Gold Star Khan family, his offensive comments about Purple Heart recipients and his disparaging remarks regarding Prisoners of War.

“Donald Trump has attacked our military families, disparaged our veterans and insulted our servicemembers –– but unlike Republican Governor Kasich, Senator Portman is still continuing to support Trump,” said Ted Strickland. “Senator Portman calculated, political cowardice is appalling –– and it’s an insult to the brave Ohioans who have put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. The truth is if Portman won’t stand up to Trump, Ohioans cannot trust Portman to stand up for us in the Senate.”

The event follows the launch of Veterans for Ted on Thursday –– a new coalition supporting the Strickland campaign made up over 100 veterans and military family members and co-chaired by a group of prominent veteran leaders. On Wednesday, Strickland also joined veterans in Toledo to continue calling on Portman to retract his endorsement of Trump, and last week Strickland and veteran Tim Hagan hosted a conference call to condemn Portman’s continued support for Trump following Trump’s attack on the Gold Star Khan family. Strickland first called on Portman to retract his endorsement of Trump in June.

The letter, signed by eight Ohio veterans, is below.

Dear Senator Portman: 

As Ohio veterans and military families, we have one simple question we would like to ask: what will it take for you to renounce your support for Donald Trump?

Donald Trump’s vicious and personal attacks against the Gold Star Khan family have done nothing to alter your behavior.

And neither has Trump’s offensive and juvenile statements regarding those who have earned the Purple Heart. Or his disparaging comments about prisoners of war.

Trump has attacked the very American values that we have fought to defend, and that so many of our comrades have given their lives to preserve.

Senator, in reacting to these comments and others from Trump, you’ve often offered a timid response – but your continued endorsement of this candidate speaks far louder than empty words. If anything, your support for Trump appears to have only escalated. 

Other Republicans, including Ohio’s own Republican Governor John Kasich, have denounced Trump and made it clear that they will not support his campaign. These actions, from those within your own political Party, have only served to magnify and highlight your own political calculation.

It is clear that Trump’s rhetoric, his dangerous temperament, and his fundamental ignorance renders him unfit to lead our great country, to command our armed forces, or to represent America to the world.  

But what it is also clear is that you have not shown the moral fortitude or leadership that we expect from our United States Senator. In short, if you will not stand up to Donald Trump, there is no way we can continue to trust you to stand up for Ohio’s values in the U.S. Senate.

On behalf of Ohio’s veterans, our military families, and all those who serve, we are urging you to set aside the reckless and dangerous partisanship you have displayed, and to start putting the values of our nation and your duty to our country over your own political interests.

Senator Portman, as long as you continue to embrace Trump’s toxic and divisive candidacy, you are complicit and responsible for his actions.  We urge you to renounce and retract your support for Trump today.


Richard Bakos, Awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his service in Vietnam with the U.S. Army
Joseph Colapietro, Vietnam Army Combat Veteran
Tim Hagan, served in the U.S. Army as part NATO Forces in Germany;
Dennis Hill, Vietnam Army Combat Veteran
Bill Lileas, Sr., Vietnam Marine Combat Veteran and Purple Heart recipient
Robert Peduzzi, Korean War Marine Combat Veteran
Richard Watts, Vietnam Army Combat Veteran and three-time Purple Heart recipient
Lars Williams, Vietnam Army Combat Veteran


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