The Columbus Dispatch: Sherrod Brown plays growing role for Biden as Trump tries to dig himself out of latest mess

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The Columbus Dispatch: Sherrod Brown plays growing role for Biden as Trump tries to dig himself out of latest mess

When Sen. Sherrod Brown was vetted as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton four years ago, he expressed the desire to take the lead in reaching out to working people, especially those in Midwestern states that she eventually lost.

This year, Joe Biden’s campaign is turning more and more to Ohio’s only statewide Democratic non-judicial officeholder for help. The latest instance came Thursday as Brown was tapped to help lead the national campaign’s response to President Donald Trump’s inconsistent assessments of the coronavirus to the nation versus those he shared in recorded conversations with journalist Bob Woodward.

“What we heard on that tape is the definition of Donald Trump’s phony populism,” Brown said on a national press call Thursday. “He gaslights the American people about the dangers of the deadly virus, while behind closed doors he tells his wealthy cabinet member and Washington insiders the truth about how dangerous it was.”

On Feb. 7, after a call with the Chinese president about the coronavirus, Trump told Woodward, “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus. … This is deadly stuff,” according to the new book.

On March 19, Trump told The Washington Post associate editor: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Yes, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Brown’s response to those revelations: “Now we have it on tape: He was more worried about protecting his own poll numbers and his wealthy friends’ stock portfolios than he was about saving American lives.”

Toni Webb, director of Biden’s Ohio campaign, said, “Sherrod Brown is a fierce champion for working people in Ohio and across the country. He and Joe share a commitment to restoring the dignity of work and ensuring the future is made in America by all of America’s workers — and working together, we are mobilizing working families across the state to deliver for Joe Biden in November.”

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