DeWine: Hate Has No Place Here
Updated: 4:44 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine began his Thursday COVID-19 press conference discussing Tuesday's presidential debate in Cleveland, saying it was not America's finest hour.
“I hope that the next debate will focus on the future, vital issues on the decisions that the next President of the United States will have to make, on the substantive issues that this country faces,” he said. “The name calling by both candidates is simply not helpful. The name calling by both candidates is not productive.”
DeWine congratulated hosts Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, as well as the City of Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson and the Cleveland police for a peaceful event but said he hoped the content of future debates would be better focused.
“What is needed in the next debate is a robust, energetic debate on the challenges that the next president will face and as in presidential debates of the past, each candidate has an obligation to articulate a vision,” he said.
DeWine also condemned hate groups, after Trump did not specifically denounce a group known as the Proud Boys during or immediately after the debate.
“White supremacists know only hate,” DeWine said. ”Anti-Semites know only hate, and we could go on and on. It sickens me that there are people in our country who perpetrate this hate, violence and they work to divide us.
“We cannot let these fringe groups of the right or left divide us. We cannot let them into that system when they preach violence, when they preach hate,” he said.
Such divisions will have no place in Ohio’s election process, the governor said, and the voters of Ohio will be safe and their voices heard.
“We will not tolerate any interference in this sacred process,” he said.
But as Election Day approaches, the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on Ohio and Ohioans, with four counties raised to Level 3, or red, alert status in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System as of Thursday afternoon, for a total of 11 red counties across the state.
The state reported more than 1,300 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as of Thursday and DeWine said the positivity rate is creeping back up.
“Unfortunately we’re seeing a rebound in some areas of the state, particularly in Southwest Ohio,” DeWine said. “We don't know if that's a long-term trend. Our most recent day was 4 percent. We're averaging a little bit over 3 percent.”
Moving into the red are Clermont, Hamilton, Muskingum and Richland counties this week. Remaining at red/Level 3 are Ashland, Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam and Scioto counties. Though Delaware and Stark counties dropped from red to orange.
Richland County is at risk of being moved to Level 4 or purple – the highest alert level for the system that has been in place since July. No Ohio county has seen COVID-19 cases so severe as to trigger that alert level so far. But DeWine said Richland County has reported 95 new cases in the past two weeks, which the governor said is not inclusive of incarcerated individuals. Community spread at long-term care facilities and big family event there have been factors, he said.
Mask wearing and continuing to take precautions is imperative, DeWine said, acknowledging that the pandemic is wearing on everyone – including himself.
“I know everybody is tired. I’m sick of it, you’re sick of it, we’re all sick of it, but we gotta hang in here. I get the question a lot, ‘Mike, when is this over, when can I take my mask off, when can I go about life as normal?’ And I don’t have a great answer because the best answer I can come up with is that will happen when we get herd immunity… and we’re not going to get that without the vaccine,” he said. “We’re tough, we’re Ohioans… It’s not easy but we just gotta keep going."