Originally Published: Cincinnati Business Courier By  

The Lincoln Project, the national group of Republicans opposed to President Trump’s re-election, launched its Ohio efforts in Cincinnati on Tuesday, calling it Operation Grant, after the Civil War hero, former president and Republican, Ulysses S. Grant.

Phil Heimlich, the former Hamilton County commissioner, and four other self-identified Republicans held a news conference at the Lincoln statue in Lytle Park, downtown.

“We have decided to put country ahead of party,” Heimlich said. “Real Republicans believe in law and order.”

Heimlich criticized other Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, and U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, and Brad Wenstrup, R-Columbia-Tusculum, comparing them unfavorably to characters from the “Wizard of Oz.”

“There are too many scarecrows and too many cowardly lions,” Heimlich said.

Asked whether the initiative would be pushing its message through television or other advertising, Heimlich said it would be doing similar events across the state.

All five speakers urged Republicans to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. They listed a litany of issues Trump has failed on, including:

  • His handling of the pandemic
  • Asking Ukraine to investigate Biden
  • Praising dictators like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
  • Discussion of the U.S. leaving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defense pact with Europe
  • Disparaging of the American intelligence community.

Joining Heimlich were Hamilton County businesswoman Meegan Baxter; former Belmont County GOP chair Chris Gagin, who resigned to protest Trump; former Shelby County GOP Chair Christopher Gibbs; and retired Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich.

“Truth matters. Competency matters,” Gagin said.

Asked whether he agrees with Biden on any issues, Heimlich said, “The most important thing for me is decency and integrity.”

On Aug. 11, the Hamilton County GOP tweeted that nobody should be surprised by Heimlich’s actions.

Phil Heimlich endorsed Pureval over Chabot. These people have switched parties. Their choice. But media should not describe them as Republicans. Phil benefited greatly when this county was red,” the party tweeted.