LIMA — He rose to prominence as a political strategist for former President George W. Bush, and on Monday, Karl Rove brought not only his memories of his time with the 43rd president, but also his political experience and perspective on current issues to Lima during the Allen County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Heritage Dinner at the UNOH Event Center.
Having served as Bush’s deputy chief of staff until 2007, Rove was intimately aware of criticisms the president faced during his administration. However, Rove also said public sentiment for Bush has softened in the years following his time in the White House.
Americans “tend to have perspective,” he said. “They tend to walk away from the moment and take things in a broader perspective. I think they look at him and know that he kept us safe, and when a tough time in our economy came, he did the necessary things to keep our economy from seizing up. They see him as a man of compassion and character.”
When it comes to the controversies facing the current Trump administration, Rove does not see any traction being gained in the continued accusations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“There will never be a smoking gun,” he said. “There’s no evidence of collusion. The Russians clearly tried to mess around in the American election, and they’ve done it in previous elections, but the paranoid notion that there was some collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is not worthy of our country.”
Rove offered high praise to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on his first day of Senate confirmation hearings.
“I thought it was a terrific opening statement today, and it was a real contrast between that and the bankruptcy of the Democrats,” he said. “This is an accomplished jurist who has served with distinction on the bench. They will be hard-pressed to find a chink in his armor in the coming days.”
On the proposed health care bill from House Republicans, Rove sees it passing in the coming days, inevitably with some changes along the way.
“I like it,” he said. “It ends the Obamacare exchanges. There will be $700 billion in subsidies gone. It ends $1 trillion in taxes. It takes Medicaid and reforms it in a way that Republicans have been talking about for decades, not as an open-ended entitlement, but instead giving each state an amount of money for each of the most vulnerable populations. It’s up to the states to figure out what the needs of the people of that state are.”