Dayton, Ohio – Supporters of President Donald Trump expressed their displeasure with statewide mask mandates on Monday by loudly booing Lt. Gov. Jon Husted while he served as a warm-up speaker.
Standing on stage at the Dayton International Airport, Husted attempted to model a “Trump 2020” face mask while telling a joke. He struggled to arrive at the punch line, as he was repeatedly interrupted by boos. One audience member yelled for Husted, a former Republican Ohio House speaker who represented the Dayton area in the state legislature during the 2000s, to “get off the stage.”
“Hang on, I get it,” Husted said. “You don’t like it. But when you go in a grocery store where you have to wear one… Just listen up!”
“All right, I get it. But if somebody tells you to take it off, you can at least say you’re trying to save the country by wearing one of President Donald Trump’s masks,” he eventually said.
Husted told the crowd he and Gov. Mike DeWine are co-chairs of the Trump campaign in Ohio, drawing more boos.
“We are working to make sure he’s victorious on Nov. 3,” he said.
When he spoke later, Trump gave shout-outs to DeWine, whom he called a “real good friend,” and Husted.
“He’s opening up. He’s opening up. Where’s Mike? He’s a good man,” Trump said.
Monday wasn’t the first time a member of the DeWine administration got booed at a Trump campaign event. During Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Zanesville last Wednesday, Pence drew a few boos from the crowd when Pence mentioned the governor’s name. At another campaign event in suburban Columbus, an audience member called DeWine “spineless,” drawing cheers, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
But the reaction the crowd gave Husted Monday was much louder and sustained. At one point, a brief “Open Up” chant broke out, apparently referring to the DeWine administration’s coronavirus-related business restrictions.
“I’m for it,” Husted quipped.
DeWine was asked about the chilly reception he’s received at Trump events during a news conference last Thursday.
“Look, we’re making tough decisions. We have some people who are unemployed,” DeWine said. “We have people who don’t want to wear a mask. And a lot of different things. I’m going to keep focusing on what I need to do. I think that’s my job. I think that’s what people elected me to do, and I’m going to keep doing that.”
Husted spoke for 10 more minutes, encouraging voters to vote for the rest of the Republican ticket, including Ohio Supreme Court Justices Judy French and Sharon Kennedy, who are standing for re-election against Democratic opponents.
The crowd quieted down when Husted got off the topic of face masks, but booed again when Husted mentioned absentee voting. The hundreds in attendance indicated they planned to vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 3.
DeWine was slated to meet President Donald Trump at the airport runway, scheduled to happen shortly before 5 p.m. DeWine passed a coronavirus test, taking a PCR test, the type of test considered to be more accurate than the one that elicited a false positive for DeWine when the governor attempted to greet Trump at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport last month.
Husted tweeted about his speech shortly after he finished.