MIAMISBURG, Ohio — Former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is pursuing his third bid for U.S. Senate and has quickly become one of the leading candidates in the crowded Republican primary to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman next year.

Last week, Spectrum News followed Mandel on the trail in Southwest Ohio to see, in-person, how he’s campaigning almost exclusively in churches and primarily on former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

While all but one of the six major GOP candidates in the race are campaigning on pro-Trump platforms, Mandel regularly stands out for making controversial and outlandish claims at his events or on social media. It’s what usually gets him attention in the press.

In an effort to gauge where Mandel stands on various policy issues, Spectrum News Washington Bureau Reporter Taylor Popielarz conducted a 36-minute interview with him while on the trail in Miamisburg. 

You can watch their full, unedited conversation or read the full transcript below:



Transcript from Oct. 25, 2021 interview:

Taylor Popielarz: So, we've talked so many times that I want to focus a lot on policy. You covered some of it last night, but I'm going to tick through a bunch of questions. First off, what are three policies that you're advocating for that would improve the lives of Ohioans?

Josh Mandel: Sure, one of the main ones is ensuring that the natural resources in our state, the natural gas, the coal, the oil, is treated as assets, not as liabilities. Unfortunately, you've got these crazy lefties in Washington, like Pelosi and Schumer, who are trying to empower the Chinese and empower the Indians and empower the Europeans so they can have natural resource development, but then they don't want to do it in America. My feeling is, in a way that protects the air we breathe, the water, we drink, the environment for our kids and grandkids, we should be drilling for natural gas and mining coal and ensuring that we can depend on America for our energy. And the beautiful thing in Ohio, specifically, is that we have an abundance of natural gas beneath our feet. And the choices — are we going to depend on Islamic regimes in the Middle East who export terrorism? Are we going to depend on these liberal regimes in Europe? Are we going to depend on the Chinese? Or are we just going to depend on ourselves. And seven days a week and twice on Sunday, I think we should depend on ourselves for our natural resources and our energy, and powering companies, powering homes, powering vehicles. Here's the beautiful thing, also: In the Utica and the Marcellus Shale formations in Ohio, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs buried in the ground. Tim Ryan, Morgan Harper, Sherrod Brown, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, these crazy lefties, they want to keep those jobs buried in the ground. My feeling is, let's drill for that natural gas, let's bring those jobs out of the ground. Let's depend on ourselves to power our homes and our cars and our factories, and stop spending on radical Islamic regimes and stop depending on loony politicians in Europe and stop depending on the Chinese.

Taylor: So that was one, do you have two others?

Josh: One other is ensuring that we do everything we can to protect life here in Ohio and protect life throughout the United States, and frankly, throughout the world. And that means stopping abortion. The Democrats, they don't believe in the Ten Commandments because every day they violate ‘thou shalt not kill.’ I am fiercely and strongly pro-life, I was the only statewide official to support the heartbeat bill when it was first introduced. I am a champion in the pro-life movement. I've been involved with the pro-life movement most of my adult life. And if we're not going to protect the sanctity of life, nothing else matters. And that's why I've been so proud to be endorsed by the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio and to have Christian activists and pro-life activists supporting me throughout the state supporting me. Third issue that's very important is bringing fiscal conservatism to Washington. And one of the best ways to do that is to shine sunlight on spending. When I was state treasurer, I took the state of Ohio's checkbook and I put it online. I created this website called and I said, listen, the taxpayers have a right to know how the tax money is being spent. And one of the best ways to root out those ‘good ole boy politicians’ is to shine some light on spending. One of the best ways to stop wasteful spending, whether it's in Columbus or Washington, is to bring transparency, is to create this army of citizen watchdogs who could hold the politicians’ feet to the fire. And so when I put the state of Ohio's checkbook online, what I was doing was transferring the power from the politicians to the people. And when I get to Washington, I'm going to do the same exact thing, shine sunlight on spending and empower we the people to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire.

Taylor: As a senator, what would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to Ohio?

Josh: First and foremost, we got to combat China. We got to stop the economic cheating in China. We need to stop the currency manipulation in China. We need to stop the intellectual property theft in China, where they're stealing the ideas and intellectual property of American factories and American companies and American manufacturers. And they're stealing our jobs. And so I watched over Democrat and Republican administrations, and I watch Democrat or Republican congressmen and senators and politicians, bow down to China and allow this to happen. And so I think the Democrats are at fault, I also think the Republicans are at fault. And we need a new crop of United States senators who've got the guts and the backbone to stop this cheating coming out of China and to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party.

Taylor: What do you think that looks like? Is it tariffs? Is it military response?

Josh: I am not for putting our young men and women in a new war in Asia. You know, I know there's a lot of folks in the foreign policy establishment and a lot of the military industrial complex who are sad that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are over and they're looking for a new war so they can make more and more millions and billions and stuff it in their pocket. I do not believe we should be going into a military war with China and sending our sons and daughters over there. But I do believe, through economic sanctions. I do believe through being tough on intellectual property cheating, on currency manipulation cheating, and a lot of other cheating in China, we can protect jobs here in the state of Ohio. 

Taylor: Do you believe in climate change? 

Josh: Listen, the climate’s been changing for millions of years. And the left is trying to advance this argument that all of a sudden it's due to factories in Ohio that employ tens of thousands of Ohio workers. It's a bunch of garbage. And the left's policies, Tim Ryan's policies, Schumer, Pelosi, Biden, their policies when it comes to the environment and energy, they’re trying to hurt Ohioans and help the Chinese. They’re trying to hurt Ohioans and help the Europeans. It makes no sense. The only way to understand it is to really understand the ‘Obama Doctrine.’ And the Obama Doctrine is all about bringing America down, bringing other countries up, and creating this ‘global community’ where all countries are equal. We don't want that. We don't want a world where America's equal to everyone else. We want a world where American leads, where we’re the leader when it comes to manufacturing and manufacturing jobs here in America, not in China. Where we’re the leader when it comes to natural resource development, drilling for natural gas here in America, not in Russia. Where we're the leader when it comes to ingenuity and technological advances in our military, not in China, not in these radical Islamic countries in the Middle East.

Taylor: Do you view there's a role for the federal government to respond or acknowledge further rising sea levels, warming temperatures, more severe storms?

Josh: Listen, when I think about this issue, I think about the priority and the priority is protecting Ohio jobs, protecting the Ohio worker. And one of the reasons why I'm such a strong supporter of Donald Trump and the America First agenda is because President Trump was the first president in my lifetime to stand up for American jobs, to stand up for the American worker, to put the American worker first, and to really combat these loony lefties in Washington who want to just put windmills everywhere. But they don't understand the reality of economics and the reality of how we protect jobs here in Ohio.

Taylor: You mentioned Ohio Checkbook and putting it online. Obviously, you served two terms as state treasurer. What would you do as a senator — what specific steps do you have in mind to lower the national debt?

Josh: Sure. So when I first get in as United States senator, I'm going to get into that office, and I'm going to post on the wall the United States Constitution. And right next to the United States Constitution, I'm going to post on the wall an organizational chart of the federal government. And for every department, agency, bureau that exists in that organizational chart, but does not exist in the constitution, I'm going to ask the question why does it exist and how do we get rid of it? I'm going to start off with the U.S. Department of Education. We should eliminate it whole hog. The U.S. Department of Education has existed for decades, has spent hundreds of billions of our tax money, and is educated exactly zero children. There is no reason whatsoever for the U.S. Department of Education to exist. And what they do is they advance these horrible policies like Common Core and Critical Race Theory and Comprehensive Sex Education. Let me touch on each one of those. Common Core came out of the federal government. When John Kasich, who's a total RINO (Republican-in-name-only), he's not even a — I won't even call him that, he's actually a Democrat. When John Kasich was governor, at the time he was a squishy, establishment RINO, now he's a Democrat, he was trying to accept Common Core for the state of Ohio. I was the only statewide official who had the guts and the backbone to stand up to Kasich and say we don't want the federal government to have a say in our local education. That's crazy! From the people who brought us the Obamacare and the Postal Service, we don’t want them involved with their kids’ education at all. And frankly, I don't think we want a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats in Columbus involved with their kids’ education. We want moms and dads making decisions on what's best for kids, and so that's one. Second, Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory teaches kids to be racist. Critical Race Theory is about assigning to eight-year-old boys and girls who might be white, racist tendencies because 200 years ago, someone who has no relation to them did something. That makes no sense. It makes no sense whatsoever. Let kids be kids! Why don't we teach kids that skin color doesn't matter? Just treat everyone with dignity and respect. And what the left is doing through the U.S. Department of Education, advancing this Critical Race Theory, they are perverting Martin Luther King's words. Martin Luther King said judge people based on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. And these lefties in Washington, they're trying to make everything about skin color. And now it's happening in local school boards right here in the state of Ohio. I was at the Lakota School Board down in Cincinnati a couple weeks ago, speaking up against Critical Race Theory, speaking up against the masked mandates. I was invited by moms and the school board kicked me out. Think about that. In total violation of their own rules and my First Amendment rights. And we found out today, Taylor, that the Lakota School Board is so scared of citizens coming to speak their mind that they canceled tonight's Lakota School Board meeting because they're afraid of parents coming to have their voice heard. But we have to ask the question, why do school boards feel empowered like that? The reason school boards feel empowered like that is because you have this U.S. Department of Education and now the Attorney General of the United States that is calling moms and dads, ‘domestic terrorists.’ They're calling us domestic terrorists because we care about our kids’ education. You know, I remember a time when school boards would complain that there weren't enough parents showing up at their school board meetings and there weren't enough members of the community showing up to the school board meetings. So now we're showing up, and they're kicking us out of the meetings just for expressing our views, for exercising our constitutional, First Amendment rights for standing up for kids. You also have the U.S. Department of Education advancing this crazy Comprehensive Sex Education. They're teaching elementary kids that there's 23 genders and they can just pick one of those genders. That's insane. Come on! We all know there's only two genders. Boys are boys, girls are girls. You know, we're doing this interview right now in a church. And I think young people in America would be much better served going to school in churches and synagogues than in these government schools.

Taylor: On Critical Race Theory, I’ve done several stories diving into it to learn about it myself, figure out where it's actually being taught, where it's not. Every expert I've spoken to says there's no K-12 school in Ohio that has it formally a part of its curriculum. So is it not a bit of a manufactured crisis, if it's not being formally taught in the schools, but you and other candidates are saying it's taking over the education system?

Josh: The premise of your question is totally false. When I was in Lakota last week, the moms were telling me that in the classroom, kids are being taught, white kids are being taught that they should feel guilty for the sins of someone a couple hundred years ago. So you can call it whatever you want, but what I call it is they’re teaching kids to be racist. Critical Race Theory teaches kids to be racist. And this is happening all over the state of Ohio. We got to stop it. Listen, when I joined the Marine Corps, when you get down to Parris Island, where they make Marines, Marine Corps boot camp, one of the first things the drill instructors say to us, they said listen, we don't care what color your skin is, we don't care what religion you are, we don't care how much money or little money your mommy and daddy have, you’re all equally worthless to us. And what they were saying was, you're all Marines. That was May of 2000. Fast forward four years, May of 2004, I found myself in a town called Al-Qa'im, which is right where the Euphrates River meets the Iraq-Syria border. Our unit was charged with stopping the flow of foreign weapons and foreign fighters across that border. I guarantee you as we were on that border, trying to stop bad guys from coming across that border, as we were looking in the whites of the eyes of the Syrian border guards who were shepherding these bad guys across the border, we did not give a hoot about the skin color of the Marine to our left and right. I didn't care if it was a Black guy from the Bronx or a white kid from Backwoods Tennessee. All I cared about, all they cared about was the Marine to the left and the right of us, we cared about taking care of each other like brothers. That was it. We're all brothers. It should be the same way out here in the civilian world. It’s what we should be teaching kids in the classroom. It’s how it should be at the water cooler, it's how it should be in society. But instead, you've got George Soros funding these lunatic organizations. You got the New York Times’ 1619 project on the Ohio Department of Education website. Think about that for a second. The New York Times' 1619 Project teaches that America was founded to protect slavery and racism. It's literally a lie. It's been proven to be a lie. America was founded to advance the cause of liberty and freedom, not slavery and racism. But on the Ohio Department of Education website, they're advancing this lie, perpetrating this lie on kids, it’s nuts. And so listen, we have to stand up for eternal truths. And the eternal truth in this case, is that we are all created equal by God.

Taylor: I want to talk about your time in the Marine Corps. You guys were asked last night about withdrawing from Afghanistan. And I thought it was interesting that you said you don't want to send troops back there. You thought it was time for them to withdraw and you talked about the importance of having the private sector step in. Can you expand a bit more on that? Because there are a lot of Republicans who say, we should maintain a military presence in places like there.

Josh: Sure, sure. I've seen mission creep. I've seen generals, I've seen military contractors who say we're going to go in with a small footprint, and that small footprint turns into a big footprint, and that big footprint turns into an enormous amount of footprints. There is in this country —and Eisenhower warned about this generations ago — a military industrial complex. It's not Democrat or Republican, it’s green. It's the color of money. And these folks who profit off of war want there to be endless wars. That's why they're so sad about Iraq ending and Afghanistan ending, that now they want to start a war with China. And so I'm against putting any more troops in Afghanistan and putting troops back in Afghanistan because I guarantee you, if that happens, a small amount of troops is going to turn into a large amount of troops. And just like we saw with Biden's catastrophe in Afghanistan, there's going to be young sons and daughters coming back in bodybags. And we don't want that. It's time to bring our boys and girls home, focus on America. As my drill instructor taught me a Marine boot camp, he said, dog, I'm training you to be America's 9-1-1 not the world's 9-1-1.

Taylor: Question about COVID. As of Friday, according to the Ohio Department of Health 97.7%, so 98%, of Ohioans who have died from COVID this year, in 2021, were unvaccinated. I know you haven't wanted to share publicly if you are vaccinated or not. But when you see a figure like that, 98%, why not promote something like that as a public leader? That by the numbers is so effective?

Josh: This issue is not about health or science. It never has been about health or science. This issue is about government control and whether we as individuals have the liberty and the freedom to make decisions for our family, or does the government? You have these Fauci’s and mini Fauci’s, like Amy Acton, who’s an abortionist, and all these power hungry school boards and power hungry politicians, Democrat and Republican, who think they should have control over whether or not my kids wear a mask or my kids have a vaccine. It's none of their business. It's none of your business whether or not I had a vaccine. It’s none of your business whether or not I wear a mask. And for all your viewers out there, they should have the freedom and the liberty to make decisions on what's best for them and what's best for their family. Get the government out of this, get the media out of this, get the politicians out of it. This is all about liberty and freedom. You know, the framers of the constitution, they wrote the constitution thinking about times that might be bad, where there's crisis, and there's fighting, and there's disagreement, and they wanted the constitution to be a document that was cemented in American history, that would withstand the test of time. And that's exactly what it's done. It's a beautiful document that's withstanded [sic] the test of time. And so whether it's a small manufactured crisis or it's a big manufactured crisis, like in this case with Fauci and the media and what you guys have done, the reality is the constitution and the individual liberty engrained in that constitution still exists. So it doesn't matter how much the media wants to blow things out of proportion. It doesn't matter how much Fauci wants to try to scare everyone and create panic and help China and hurt America. At the end of the day, we still have our liberty. And no journalist, no politician has the right to tell me or my kids or my family or the families of your viewers whether or not we should wear a mask or have a vaccine.

Taylor: How does that logic not apply then to abortions?

Josh: Well, of course, protecting life, innocent life, is paramount to everything else. And the —

Taylor: Couldn’t you argue that an effective vaccine that's protecting — that 98% of people who don't have it are dying — couldn't you also be protecting life if you promote the vaccine?

Josh: The lives of innocent children who cannot protect themselves are at stake. And so the abortion industry has murdered middle millions and millions of babies who could not protect themselves. And so I think the analogy you're making is completely off. It's a horrible analogy. It's offensive to me. It's offensive to, I think, your viewers as well. And the comparison just doesn't even make sense. Innocent children, they can't defend themselves and so they need us to fight for their lives. And so the comparison you're making just doesn't make any sense.

Taylor: I was genuinely curious because I guess, I see what you're saying in disclaiming that a child being innocent and not old enough to make decisions I guess takes away the individual liberty aspect that you're saying stands for vaccines, for example, or masks. Is that what you mean?

Josh: No, I mean life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The children in the womb are innocent lives, and they cannot protect themselves against the murderers at abortion clinics, and so we have to protect them

Taylor: On vaccines, do you feel the same way you do about the coronavirus vaccine with polio or measles? That have been around for decades and we've largely embraced them as a society? 

Josh: Well I think you answered your own question. They're completely different. 

Taylor: How?

Josh: Because the coronavirus just came along. We're learning new things about it every day. You know, a year ago, you would have gotten kicked off Facebook if you would have said that the coronavirus was created in a lab in Wuhan, China. And now it is literally a fact that the coronavirus was created in a lab in Wuhan, China. And so, you know, I think the difference between conspiracy theory and fact usually ends up being about six to 12 months. And the reality on the coronavirus is that every day we're learning more and more about the lies from Fauci and the lies from the ‘Deep State.’ And just this week, we learned that Fauci lied in front of Congress when he said that American tax money was not funding gain of function research on coronavirus. It was, and now you have the NIH [National Institutes of Health] and Fauci publicly disagreeing. I think we're going to see Fauci indicted for perjury. I think he lied to Congress, he knowingly told a lie to the United States Congress. And I think it's been great to see Senator Rand Paul and others really hold Fauci’s feet to the fire me. He should, at the very least, be forced to resign, but I personally think he should be indicted for perjury. And so, we're just learning now about all the lies that came out about coronavirus. And here's another lie they told. Early on, in the COVID situation, Fauci was sending internal emails that said these blue masks that all of us were buying at CVS or online don't work. He said in the emails they were ineffective. So that's what they were saying internally at the NIH. Publicly he was going on TV, and telling all of us to go buy these blue masks. It was literally political theater. I mean, Fauci is a liar. He was literally lying to the American people and I believe he needs to resign, and personally, I think should be indicted. And so to compare the lies that are being revealed and coming out in real time, I mean, this stuff with, you know, Fauci and gain of function research just came out this week. And to compare that to something like polio, you know, from the 1950s, it’s just a non-sensible comparison.

Taylor: And just for the transcript of this interview, when I publish it, I'll point out Fauci obviously disagrees with Rand Paul's assessment, your assessment, just so people know that that's kind of the state. One last question on this topic, though, because like you said, polio vaccine’s been around for decades, you know, the science has kind of proven itself. If 5,10 years from now, we still have a COVID-19 vaccine and the efficacy rates and the numbers that we're seeing now hold up, will you be more accepting of it?

Josh: Listen, I mean, I'm not going to answer a hypothetical of what's going to happen 10 years from now. Like I said, the NIH and Fauci are lying about what's happening now. And these guys can't even keep their lives straight from like the past year. Who knows how many lies that are going to be revealed 10 years from now?

Taylor: Couple more topics — thanks for all the time you're giving. With the southern border, you guys talked about it at the forum last night. How do you feel 00 I know you're frustrated with how President Biden has approached it and you agreed with a lot of former President Trump's policies — how should the federal government be approaching it? What concrete steps should be taken, you know, in the foreseeable future?

Josh: Sure, a few action steps. First and foremost, as long as we have American veterans, homeless veterans, living under bridges, we should not be spending a penny putting illegal immigrants up in hotels. That's what's going on. They're using our tax money to put illegal immigrants up in hotels. It's insane. Second, we got to finish the wall. The fact that Biden stopped building it doesn't make any sense. Walls stop illegals from coming in. Third, we should be taking National Guard troops, like there's some from Ohio down there, send more and send them from every state in the nation to help the border guard down there and stop these illegals from coming across. Fourth, we got to do an investigation into how all these Haitians got over there. Last time I checked, there's an enormous body of water between Haiti and Texas. How the heck did 15,000 Haitians get from Haiti to the Texas border? That was obviously funded and coordinated in a very sophisticated operation. My guess is George Soros has his fingerprints all over it. We need a in-depth investigation to that. Fifth, we got to stop these air drops of illegals into places like Cleveland and Columbus and Dayton, Toledo, and Cincinnati. It's crazy. They're literally air-dropping them in. Six, we've got to get a hold of these unvetted Afghan refugees. I don't know if you realize this, but of the tens of thousands of Afghan ‘refugees,’ 84% of them were unvetted. 84%. In Montana the other day, one of these Afghan ‘refugees’ raped a teenage girl. On U.S. military bases, you’ve had Afghan refugees sexually assault U.S. service women. You’ve had two of them, who already got indicted by the federal government for domestic abuse and strangling women. We've also found grown men from Afghanistan married to child brides, which means our tax money, Biden used our tax money to facilitate cross-border, child trafficking with our tax money. This is insane. And so it’s — listen, I'm so passionate about this issue because at the end of the day, the issue is about enforcing the law. We're a nation of laws, and putting Americans before foreigners.

Taylor: You talk often about your family’s story. You told your grandmother’s story today about how she was taken in. For Dreamers here in America, let's say they were brought here when they were six months old and didn't have control over it, do you think they should have a pathway to citizenship?

Josh: I do not. I'm totally against amnesty. I do not think any illegal should have a path to citizenship.

Taylor: And I guess when you look at your family's story, do you draw any comparisons to that? Like, I guess where did it change for you that —

Josh: Well it's fundamentally different. My grandparents and so many ancestors of your viewers came here legally. And listen, if someone comes here legally, and follows the rules and the laws of the United States of America, and they become a citizen, that's a beautiful thing. But if someone comes here and their first act in the United States is committing a felony, of course they shouldn't be a citizen of our country. And of course they shouldn't receive welfare benefits. But that's happening today. Biden is using our tax money to give Medicaid and welfare to illegals. It's gross.

Taylor: Speaking of Biden, Congress is obviously negotiating his Build Back Better agenda right now. Trillions of dollars. It’s changing every day what's in it. But things like paid family leave, universal pre-k, expanding care for elderly have been discussed and it seems like they'll at least receive some type of funding. Polling has shown that those types of programs are pretty popular between Democrats and Republicans. Can you explain why you are supportive or against investing in those types of things?

Josh: Listen, I think the Biden agenda is horrible. I don't care what the polls say. I don’t make decisions based on political polling, I make decisions based on core values, the constitution, the Bible, and what I believe in. And what Biden is trying to do is facilitate a culture of dependence on government, which is essentially making American citizens slaves to the government. We don't want that. What we want is to advance the cause of individual liberty, where people have the dignity of a job, people have the dignity of work. Where a mother and a father could come home, proud of a hard day's work, and their child can see how hard they worked. And they can look up to that. That's what we want in this country, not a dependence on welfare, not socialism. You look at any socialist country, it ends in a disaster. It ends in catastrophe. It ends in violence. It ends in bloodshed and it ends in sadness. And listen, in these socialist regimes throughout the world, we’ve seen it in Cuba, in Venezuela, in the old Soviet Union, you see it everywhere. First, they take away the people's guns, then they take God out of society, and then they strip freedom of speech. And listen, I'm a big believer in America, Americans and American ingenuity. And you've seen time and time again, people come from hardscrabble lives and backgrounds and make it in this country. And listen, that was my grandparents. You know, my grandfather came originally from Poland, my grandmother from Italy. They came here in 1949, didn’t speak a lick of English, but they learned English and they got a job. My grandfather was a union laborer making plumbing supplies. My grandmother was a union laborer as a clerk at a drugstore. And all they wanted to do was work. They didn't have credit cards, they paid in cash because there was no such thing as debt. They didn't want that. They didn’t go on vacations. Instead of buying Coca Cola or name brands, they always bought the generic. They were frugal and hardworking and they sweat. They didn't have a college education, but you know what, they were able to have a nice working class, middle class lifestyle in this country. That's what America is about. And that's what Biden and Pelosi and Schumer are crushing.

Taylor: For Ohioans who like the idea of roads and bridges being invested in or paid family leave, the social programs we were just talking about — maybe they don't love everything in these packages, but they say, why would you just be against all of that, you know, wrapped up in these bows. What's your explanation?

Josh: Well, listen, this boondoggle of a ‘infrastructure bill,’ it's just wasteful spending, and shame on the Republicans who voted for it. Listen, one of the problems in Washington is when the Republicans are in power, they're like, well, we got to work with Pelosi and work with Schumer to get things done. It's garbage. And then when the Democrats are in power, when Schumer and Pelosi are in power, they jam it down our throats. And now you have these squishy, establishment RINO Republicans in Washington who are providing cover for Schumer/Pelosi, providing cover for Biden and Harris. It's gross. And so when I get to Washington, I'm not just going to drain the swamp, I'm going to blow up the swamp. And yes, I'll be taking on the secular left, yes, I'll be taking on the radical left. But with as much ferocity and strength and force, I'm going to take on the squishy establishment RINO Republicans. Listen, I think we're in a fight for the heart and soul of the conservative movement. Goes one way, these RINO, traitor  Republicans like [Utah Sen.] Mitt Romney and [Wyoming Rep.] Liz Cheney and [Ohio Rep.] Anthony Gonzales, that's not my path. My path is the other way. I'm going to Washington to be reinforcements for [Ohio Rep.] Jim Jordan, [Texas Sen.] Ted Cruz, Donald Trump.

Taylor: With that in mind, I think — and I'll have to double check after this — but I think it was a Washington Post article from maybe 2012 or beforehand, kind of early on in your more national political career, and you were interviewed about being a rising star and talked about — because you were student government president in college, right? — and you had a quote about how working across the aisle and bipartisanship was really important to you at that time. And I've been wanting to ask you just, I guess, what changed? Because as you talk about, you want to go to D.C. to blow up the swamp and kind of work against anybody who's not fully aligned with you. So how did that transition happen?

Josh: Listen, when I look at Washington now, my feeling is now is not the time for bipartisanship. Now is not the time for Republicans giving into Democrats. Now's the time for fighters. We got to send fighters to Washington. I'm a Marine Corps vet, I did a couple tours in Iraq, I've got to steal spine. The same way that I took on Kasich, when he was acting like a Democrat when he was governor here, I took him on the Common Core, I took him on on the Medicaid expansion. When he was trying to keep the state's finances in the dark, I took him on and put the state's finances online. It's the same way I'm going to take on the squishy, RINO Republicans in Washington. And if Schumer or Pelosi or Biden try to shoot arrows at me, I'll come charging forward into the fire. And that's one of the problems in Washington now, these Republicans are such wimps. We need conservative fighters who are going to run to the fire and go after the Democrats.

Taylor: Two more questions. How do you think Rob Portman has done as a senator?

Josh: Rob’s a nice guy. I've known him and Jane for a long time, known their kids for a long time, and consider him a friend.

Taylor: How do you think he's done as a senator?

Josh: Agree with some things, disagree with others.

Taylor: And then lastly, if you are elected, what committees would you want to serve on?

Josh: Listen, I think that's putting the cart before the horse. But I will say this. When I go to Washington, I will be a fighter for the constitution, I will be a fighter for the Judeo-Christian bedrock of America, and I will fight with the Bible in one hand and the constitution in the other. And one of the problems we have in this country right now is that the secular left is trying to strip God out of everything. They're trying to water down that Judeo-Christian bedrock of America. And my personal feeling is we should be going the other direction. Rather than watered down, we should be doubling down. We should be instilling faith in the classroom, instilling faith in the workplace, and instilling faith everywhere in society. And unfortunately, a lot of these squishy, RINO Republicans, they're afraid to stand up to the ACLU, they’re afraid to stand up to all these Soros-funded organizations. And my personal feeling is there's no such thing as separation of church and state. You don't read about it anywhere in the United States Constitution. You know, when the framers were writing the constitution and they were disagreeing and they were arguing and debating and almost came to fisticuffs, what did they do? They stopped and they prayed. Today, at First Baptist Church in Miamisburg, I heard this amazing story. I was talking to the pastor here and he told me the story about these women who go to the abortion clinic in Kettering. And they go on the sidewalk and they pray on the sidewalk in front of the clinic to try to protect life and save babies’ lives. And one of these women was praying on the sidewalk and there was a mother who was walking in to have an abortion. And the lady on the sidewalk said to the mother walking in, there, said, do you mind if I talk to you for a second? And she took this mother and they talked on the sidewalk. And she said that she'd be willing to adopt the mother's child and the mother decided not to have an abortion. And because this woman was out there praying, she ended up saving a life. Think about how — I mean I’m getting the chills thinking about it. Think about how powerful that is. And that's what my campaign is all about, it’s what my leadership as United States senator will be all about. It'll be about bringing back prayer, bringing back God into the classroom and into society, and making decisions with the Bible in one hand and the constitution in the other.

End of interview.