Predicting Sen. Rob Portman's response to Trump's tweet advocating for the shooting of Americans

Andy Downing
Sen. Rob Portman

Overnight, President Donald Trump logged on to Twitter to register his response to the ongoing protests in Minneapolis, which began in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by police during an arrest. The protests have since spread nationwide, including here in Columbus.

In the tweet, which has since been restricted by Twitter for glorifying violence, Trump wrote, in part, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." This is certainly a marked departure from his reaction to the armed white men who stormed the Michigan State Capitol earlier in the month while protesting "stay at home" orders designed to protect public health. (At the time, Trump wrote, "These are very good people. … See them, talk to them, make a deal.")

While one might think that Trump's decision to call for a violent military response against American citizens would be universally condemned, that's not what we expect to hear from Sen. Rob Portman, who has a habit of either walking away from Trump's more egregious Twitter posts or offering lukewarm rebuttals.

Here are the two ways we can see Portman responding:

1. "Franky, I haven't seen the tweet."

2. "That's not something I would say, and while I support President Trump and will continue to mirror his votes on seemingly every issue, I find this divisive and want to offer just enough of a rebuke that I can distance myself from the tweet in question without offending Dear Leader."

We'll plan on updating this post once we have our answer.