As the drama surrounding the guilty plea of the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen and the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort played out in Washington, members of Congress are home in their districts campaigning and trying to talk about issues that are important to their constituents.
At stake is nothing less than control of the House of Representatives and the ability of Democrats to block President Donald Trump’s agenda or the ability of Republicans to carry it out. Meanwhile, former White House strategist and ultra-conservative Steve Bannon is warning Republicans to get solidly behind the president or lose control of Congress.
NBC4’s Colleen Marshall caught up with Central Ohio representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH 3) and Steve Stivers (R-OH 15) about where they stand and what impact, if any, the Cohen and Manafort cases will have on the upcoming midterm elections.
“The president has some policies I agree with on taxes. The president has some policies I agree with on regulation,” Stivers said. “But the president has done some things on tariffs that I disagree with. He has done separation of families that I disagree with.”
Stivers said he has publicly opposed some of Trump’s policies and questioned the president’s decision to strip security clearance away from former CIA Director John Brennan.
“I do what I think is in the best interest of America and my constituents,” he continued. “I’m not going to blindly follow one individual, but I do agree with the president on a lot of policies.”
For her part, Beatty said it will be hard to separate all of the negative effects some of Trump’s actions and words have brought about.
“I think that the citizens are tired,” Beatty said. “I think that you have women and Republicans and independents that are embarrassed, and they want change.”
Beatty’s main concern is that Congress isn’t serving the most vulnerable people in society.
“We do not have immigration reform. We have not figured out our spending levels, the budget; we had that awful tax bill,” she said. “We have to figure out how to fix those things, how to have a good economy for hard-working people.”
She said when she goes back to Washington, she will continue to fight for those issues as well as ending childhood hunger and figuring out how to curb the astronomical cost of college tuition.
Stivers and Beatty often work closely together on issues important to central Ohioans, but they could not be further apart on their view of the neck-and-neck races between Troy Balderson and Danny O’Connor in Ohio’s 12th District.
“Special elections are just that,” Stivers said. “There is a big history of special elections swinging wildly, and it’s all about who turns out.”
On the other hand, Beatty believes the tight race in the historically Republican district is a harbinger of a blue wave in November.
“I think it is indicative of what the people want,” she said. “I think that the people want people who are for them. We want our country back as we know it, a country that treats everybody with respect and dignity.”
You can watch Colleen’s full story with Stivers and Beatty above.