CINCINNATI — At Linnie's Pub in Delhi Township, just a six-minute drive from where President Joe Biden answered questions from the community at a CNN town hall event, GOP leaders gathered.
The group at the bar were not concerned with what President Biden had to say; they didn't even turn a TV in the bar on to watch the event. Instead, they focused on coming together as a united voice.
"Our goal is to push back on his agenda," said Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County GOP. "Work with him when we can, though. To be fair, as I've said all day today, Senator Portman has a good bipartisan infrastructure plan. That would be a good start for President Biden. To work with Senator Portman. Right here in Hamilton County. Right here in Ohio. To do infrastructure the right way. With Republican support. So far, he's rejected Robert Portman's overtures. They ought to work together to get it done."
Triantafilou said President Biden's visit felt like a staged political event and called it a propaganda piece for the left.
He said he doesn't believe the president shares the West Side's values of hard work, lower taxes and fewer regulations.
In many ways, the West Side has been in favor of former President Donald Trump. Board of Election data show nearly three out of every four votes cast went to the former president.
Republican Congressman Steve Chabot said Biden's message encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine is one with which Chabot agrees.
"Well, I would encourage people to be vaccinated," he said. "I was early on, my family was, and I would encourage everybody to get vaccinated to protect themselves. Obviously, people aren't required to do that, but they should."
He said changing guidance from the administration over time has created issues in actually getting people to take the shot.
"You won't have to wear a mask, but they're bringing masks back often time," said Chabot. "So if you arrived on a plane, for example, which I do back and forth to Washington every week, the Transportation Department has said everybody has to wear masks...I think it's a mistake to basically tell people that you still have to wear masks after you've been vaccinated. I think it was a mistake for Kamala Harris, for example, to say that she didn't trust the vaccine because it had something to do with the previous administration."
He agrees that vaccines help in the fight against COVID-19 and that people should get the shot to protect themselves and others, but he said, ultimately, it's still an individual's decision.