WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Rob Portman, who urged fellow Republican Donald Trump to speak out against the violence of his supporters, announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2022, citing deepening political divisions.
Portman, who entered the Senate a decade ago, said the divisions had made it “harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress.”
“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground,” the two-term Ohio Republican said in a statement.
“This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades,” he added. “This is a tough time to be in public service.”
Portman, 65, addressed Trump, while he was still president, after the former president’s supporters rampaged through the Capitol on Jan. 6, leading the House of Representatives to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting an insurrection.
In a statement issued a day before the impeachment vote, Portman warned that Trump would “bear responsibility” if the former president failed to speak out to prevent further violence in Washington and at state capitals around the country in the run-up to President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
A day after Portman’s statement, Trump released a video condemning the violence at the U.S. Capitol in which five people died. Trump’s Senate trial is due to begin the week of Feb. 8.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and David Morgan; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Howard Goller)