Gov. Mike DeWine Skips Donald Trump Rally in Ohio

Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor John Husted will not attend a rally held by former President Donald Trump in the state's Lorain County this weekend.

The event at the Lorain County fairgrounds on Saturday will be Trump's first rally in Ohio since he won the state in the 2020 presidential election, but Ohio's top two Republicans won't be there.

DeWine has a family conflict, according to The Columbus Dispatch, but Husted has not yet given a reason for missing the rally. Both men were booed by the crowd at a Trump rally near Dayton, Ohio in September last year.

Senator Robert Portman (R-OH) will also not be attending, according to The Toledo Blade but some of the state's prominent Republicans have indicated they will be there.

Representative Jim Jordan, who represents Ohio's 4th congressional district, will reportedly attend the event.

"Heck yes, Mr. Jordan will be there," a Jordan spokesperson told the Blade on Tuesday.

Also attending will be former Representative Jim Renacci, who is challenging DeWine for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the 2022 election. Renacci represented Ohio's 16th congressional district from 2011 to 2019.

Trump issued a statement about the rally via messaging platform Telegram, saying: "Big crowds in the Great State of Ohio this weekend for the Trump rally. See you on Saturday night. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, AGAIN!"

Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in the governor's race but DeWine has previously indicated he would accept the former president's endorsement if he offers it.

"Endorsements are interesting but ultimately people make a decision who they want to be their governor or their senator," DeWine said on March 19. "I'm not sure endorsements play such a huge role."

DeWine recognized President Joe Biden's election as legitimate and called for Trump to begin the transition in an interview with CNN last year. He also said the former president "should have done more" to deal with the January 6 Capitol riot, calling it "a horrible, horrible day."

When reached by Newsweek on Wednesday, Governor DeWine's office cited his previously scheduled family events and had no further comment to make.

A spokesperson for Lt. Governor Husted's office told Newsweek on Wednesday: "The Lt. Governor is unable to attend."

In a tweet in 2020, Trump appeared to suggest that DeWine should face a challenger for the gubernatorial nomination. He wrote: "Who will be running for Governor of the Great State of Ohio? Will be hotly contested!"

There will also be an open U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in 2022 as Portman announced he will be retiring. Trump hasn't endorsed anyone to succeed Portman as yet but his support is coveted by many potential GOP candidates.

At a rally near Dayton in September, Lt. Governor Husted walked on stage wearing a red Trump mask and was booed by the crowd. Ohio had required mask-wearing in most indoor setting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

"I'm trying to make masks in America great again," Husted said before being booed. DeWine's name also drew boos at the event.

Update 6/23/21 10.16am ET: This article was updated to include statements from former President Trump and Lt. Governor Husted's office.

Mike DeWine Gives His 2018 Victory Speech
Republican Governor Mike DeWine gives his victory speech after winning the Ohio gubernatorial race at the Ohio Republican Party's election night party at the Sheraton Capitol Square on November 6, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. DeWine will not attend a Trump rally in the state on Saturday. Justin Merriman/Getty Images