By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — Former Presidential Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was the keynote speaker at Darke County’s Lincoln Day Dinner, held on Monday, April 25 at Romer’s Catering in Greenville.
The Lincoln Day Dinner is an annual celebration and fundraiser for state and county Republicans. Local Republican Party officials, as well as candidates for county, state, and national offices, attended.
There was a VIP reception prior to the program and dinner service, where attendees had the opportunity to meet Meadows, former chief of staff under President Donald Trump, and take pictures. U.S. Senate candidate Jane Timken spoke, as well as Ohio gubernatorial candidate, Jim Renacci.
“I played rugby in college,” said Timken. “No helmets, no pads, just tackling. And I’m ready to tackle Tim Ryan,” she said, referring to the Democratic candidate, whom the winner of the Republican primary will face in the general election.
Renacci described how his policies would differ from incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine’s.
“He shut us down faster than any Blue State,” Renacci stated, referring to the 2020 lockdowns in response to COVID-19. “Ohio ranks 32 out of the 50 states in recovering (economically) from COVID-19.” He cited other positions Gov. DeWine has taken, that are inconsistent with GOP platforms, such as proposing “red flag laws,” gun control measures in which a family member can petition a state court to remove firearms from a person who is potentially dangerous.
Congressman Warren Davidson, who was instrumental in bringing Meadows to Darke County, introduced him. Davidson opened with general remarks on Ohio’s political landscape.
“Why has a swing state turned into a Red State? It’s where the Democrats have gone: you can’t respect the flag, you can’t support police, you can’t say boys can’t play girls’ sports.” According to Davidson, these issues have driven Ohioans to the right, politically. Introducing Meadows, he stated, “What a difference it would have made if his (former President Trump’s) first Chief of Staff, had been his last.”
When Meadows took the stage, he said of Davidson, “He is the same in Washington, D.C. as he is in Ohio.”
Meadows began by commenting on the number of “Trump 2024” flags he had observed in Darke County.
”Eighty-two percent of this county voted for Trump in 2020; do you think we can make it 90 percent in 2024?” at which the crowd erupted in cheers.
Meadows described himself as a “nobody from nowhere,” whose hometown in North Carolina, where he and his wife have resided since 1986, is 45 minutes from a Walmart. He described his successful political career: “Half of it is showing up, the other half is doing what you said you would do.” Admittedly, he was hesitant to accept the chief of staff position.
“I wasn’t anxious to get fired on national TV,” he chuckled.
Meadows spoke at length of his admiration for former President Trump’s work ethic.
“When President Trump was in the White House, he worked harder than anybody I’ve ever met,” Meadows stated. According to Meadows, the former president would remain in the office until midnight, at which point he started catching up on the day’s headlines. He recalled receiving a call from Trump at 3:18 a.m.
“He never slept,” said Meadows.
One of those headlines was Fox News’s Tucker Carlson breaking the news that the U.S. was funding gain of function research in Wuhan, China. Meadows called then Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, to cut it off immediately. According to Meadows, President Trump advised, “I didn’t tell you to do that,” to which Meadows responded, “but you would have. Then he told me ‘Finally, a chief of staff who can think for himself!’”
In closing, Meadows urged the audience to keep upholding their values and beliefs. “The enemy is not us; the enemy is China, and the ‘Woke Left.’ They want us to shut up; do not censor yourselves. It is important that you speak up, and let your neighbors know how you feel.”
Meadows acknowledged he deeply appreciated the prayers being offered amidst attacks he and his wife are facing.
“Our God still reigns over the affairs of nations,” he said.
At the dinner’s conclusion, John and Betty Grimes of Union City, Ohio were presented with the Republican(s) of the Year Award.
Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts at [email protected]