Belmont Co. GOP chairman resigns after Trump-Putin summit


Chris Gagin spent his Monday afternoon yesterday like many Americans did across the country: watching President Donald Trump’s joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While the President has been controversial throughout his short career in politics, this particular presser brought on a number of criticisms on either side of the aisle.

“The President of the United States had everything there that he needed to point his finger squarely in Vladimir Putin’s chest and say, ‘no more,’ and he lost that opportunity,” Gagin told 7 News.

At its conclusion, he wrote an email to the executive committee of the Belmont County GOP stating his resignation as party chairman, and posted a pair of tweets that would put him in front of the eyes of millions.

Gagin, who is not a particularly active user of Twitter, was surprised at the enormous reaction he received: millions of people have seen his tweets and they were picked up by news outlets across the country, such as the New York Times and The Hill. He has fielded calls from every major cable news station, and is set to appear on some today.

He does not want this attention to distract from his actions themselves.

“None of this was done in an effort to get me additional face time on a camera,” Gagin told 7News. “This was a matter of conscience, and a matter of expression of my personal values and beliefs.” 

In this current political climate, which Gagin himself describes as “tribal,” he expects that many of his GOP colleagues will strongly disagree with his actions, some of which will stop speaking to him completely.

“I don’t think anyone necessarily is a bad person–I think that’s part of the problem we have right now in our political culture,” he stated. “We’re so tribal, that if anybody takes a political position that differs from another person’s individual viewpoint, the automatic belief becomes that the person against me is a bad person, other than that we have a fundamental disagreement about a political issue.”

As for his actions, not only does he think that it was a good move for his own conscience, but the Republican Party as a whole.

“I thought it would be disingenuous to remain in a position where my sole job is to be in lockstep, essentially, with the agenda of the President of the United States,” he said, “and after that press conference, I could no longer say that I was.”

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