Toledo Blade: The bid for the most Trumpian candidate

In a televised debate last week among the three candidates for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, all three vied to be the most Trumpian, but Bernie Moreno stood out.

Moreno, a successful former luxury car dealer from Cleveland and an immigrant from Bogota, Colombia, demonstrated why he won the coveted Donald Trump golden ticket endorsement to take on U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in November.

The debate was conducted by Channel 8, WJW, the Fox affiliate in Cleveland on Monday. Answering the panel’s questions also were state Sen. Matt Dolan of Cuyahoga County and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

It is unfortunate that the questioners didn’t see fit to directly confront the candidates with the question of whether the election was stolen from Trump in 2020.

Trump makes that claim, and all of his supporters have to pay some obeisance to it, even though there’s never been any evidence of the kind of voter fraud that could have changed the outcome of the election.

Moreno went all in on the idea that Trump is the target of a politically oriented and coordinated campaign by various Democratic state attorneys general in New York and Georgia and the U.S. Justice Department.

Asked about the many cases filed against him, Moreno said, “All those charges are completely trumped up. These are insane judges.”

Moreno gave an exaggerated description of the character of the prosecutions of those who entered the Capitol illegally on Jan. 6, 2021, some of them using violence and intending to interrupt a legal and important session of Congress.

He said the defendants are in solitary confinement, are denied lawyers, and have no due process. There’s been no reporting that supports that claim.

Moreno compared the crime of the Jan. 6 insurrections to the torching of a Wendy’s restaurant by protesters in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and said that that the Wendy’s protesters were let off more lightly.

It was pointed out that immediately after the riot he referred to the rioters as “criminals” and “morons.” More recently he joined those calling them “political prisoners.”

In his answer, Moreno said some were criminals, but some were “mothers” and “grandmothers” who were “walking peacefully” in the Capitol and are now in jail for it.

Moreno goes out of his way, rhetorically, to identify with the insurrectionists who tried to intimidate Congress to abandon its vote to certify the 2020 election that was won by Democrat Joe Biden. Unlike the then-President, Congress handled itself bravely that day, returning in the wee hours to carry out its duty to the Constitution and the voters.

Moreno called Trump “the best president of our lifetime.” Moreno was born in 1967, so he apparently doesn’t rank Ronald Reagan as high as Trump.

Nothing that Trump might have accomplished during his four years as President will wipe away the stain of his attempted abuse of power to stay in office, contrary to the will of the voters.

Ohio needs U.S. senators who respect the truth. Moreno, with his rhetoric, reinforces dangerous falsehoods.