COLUMBUS (WCMH) — During his Monday coronavirus update, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine addressed two separate protests that happened in the past few days, calling on those protesters to go after him and not members of the press or his administration.
On Friday, NBC4 Columbus reporter Adrienne Robbins was confronted by a protester outside the Ohio Statehouse prior to DeWine’s briefing.
On Saturday afternoon, protesters gathered outside the home of Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton.
DeWine recognized the protesters’ rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution, but stressed the demonstrations should focus on him.
“I don’t usually comment about demonstrators and the reason I don’t comment about demonstrators is because I’ve been in public office for 40 years….I have a great respect for their Constitutional right to demonstrate,” DeWine said, adding demonstrations are something he is used to and respects.
DeWine said he is “fair game” as a target to demonstrators.
“It’s not fair game to disrespect the news media, to be obnoxious to the news media,” he said. “It’s not fair game. You should come after me. Don’t go after people who are exercising their First Amendment rights, the First Amendment rights that we value in this country so very, very much.”
DeWine added that reporters are informing the public about what the public thinks and what the public says.
“To treat them with disrespect, to not observe social distancing with them, to be just obnoxious, I just find that very, very sad,” he said. “So come after me. I’m fair game, they’re not.”
DeWine then moved on to the Saturday protest outside Acton’s home.
“I’m the elected official,” he said. “I’m the one who ran for office. I’m the one who makes the policy decisions. The members of my cabinet, Dr. Acton included, work exceedingly, exceedingly hard, but I set the policy. So when you don’t like the policy, again, demonstrate against me. That is certainly fair game.”
DeWine added said the protest wasn’t necessary to get the demonstrators’ point across.
Coronavirus in Ohio resources: