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Southeast Ohio Republican Party Leader Quits Over Trump–Putin Comments

A party chairman for a Southeast Ohio Republican Party has announced his resignation on Monday, July 16, shortly after Trump's controversial comments in Helsinki. Former Belmont County GOP chairman Chris Gagin cited "policy differences" as a reason for stepping down, as he posted on social media.

Chris Gagin took over outgoing chairman Josh Meyer on April of 2016 as the Belmont County Republican Party head, and he has remained the GOP chairman until his resignation earlier this week.

"I remain a proud conservative and Republican, but I resigned today as Belmont Co Ohio GOP Chairman. I did so as a matter of conscience, and my sense of duty," Gagin posted on Twitter on Tuesday, July 17.

In a quick follow-up post soon after, Gagin cited "certain policy differences" as his reason for stepping down, pointing out that President Trump is "entitled" to the full support of GOP party leaders, even down to the county level, being "fully committed" to his views — including his recent comment that he issued in a press conference alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Following today's press conference with Pres. Putin, as well as certain policy differences, most especially on trade, I could no longer fulfill that duty. Thus, I resigned," he explained.

Gagin's resignation is just part of the ongoing fallout from Trump's recent remarks in Helsinki, as the U.S. president seemingly accepted Putin's denial of any involvement in an alleged Russian-linked plot to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections.

Chris Gagin has served for three years as a Democrat under U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson as his District Director and Staff Attorney but turned to the Republican's side when he registered his new affiliation back in 2014.

"Just like a lot of folks in Belmont County, I realized the Democratic party had largely abandoned what I valued – even at the local level - and so I made the switch," he said at the time.

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