Sen. Rob Portman was among a small group of Republican senators who met Thursday with Donald Trump as the likely GOP presidential nominee attempted to heal the deeply fractured Republican Party.
Portman, R-Ohio, who is facing a close re-election battle against former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, called the meeting “a good listening session, and an opportunity to talk about how we can work together to get the country back on track.”
Portman said in a statement that “America cannot have another four years of the same, failed policies on jobs and terrorism, and that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton would provide,” referring to the former secretary of state who is expected to be the Democratic presidential nominee.
The meeting near Capitol Hill was scheduled to be between Trump and the Senate GOP leadership. While Portman is not in leadership, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., invited him to attend the session.
Portman has repeatedly said he plans to support the Republican presidential nominee.
Although CNN reported last week that an unnamed Trump adviser said Portman would be a potential vice presidential running mate, aides to Portman have dismissed the idea and say he is focusing on his re-election.
Strickland’s campaign quickly assailed Portman for attending the meeting. Liz Margolis, a Strickland spokeswoman, said Portman’s “face-to-face meeting with Donald Trump is another reminder that Portman has pledged his devotion to the most toxic presidential nominee in modern history.”