Dozens of Republicans who served in former President George W. Bush’s administration are reportedly leaving the party, unhappy that fellow members are not disavowing former President Donald Trump after he claimed fraud cost him the 2020 election – a claim that ignited a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.
The officials had hoped that when Trump lost, party leaders would “move on from the former president and denounce his baseless claims that the November presidential election was stolen,” Reuters reported. “But with most Republican lawmakers sticking to Trump, these officials say they no longer recognize the party they served. Some have ended their membership, others are letting it lapse while a few are newly registered as independents, according to a dozen former Bush officials who spoke with Reuters.”
“The Republican Party as I knew it no longer exists. I’d call it the cult of Trump,” Jimmy Gurulé, who was Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Bush administration, told the news agency.
“If it continues to be the party of Trump, many of us are not going back,” Rosario Marin, a former Treasurer of the U.S. under Bush, told Reuters. “Unless the Senate convicts him, and rids themselves of the Trump cancer, many of us will not be going back to vote for Republican leaders.”
One former official, Suzy DeFrancis, a veteran of the Republican Party who served in administrations including those of former presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, said she voted for Biden in November. “I totally understand why people are frustrated and want to leave the party. I’ve had that feeling for four years,” DeFrancis said.
But she said the Republican Party needs to return to its core principles, such as limited government, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and a strong national defense.
The Reuters report came as an Illinois Republican lawmaker called on members of the party to give up the division and conspiracy theories spurred by Trump.
“The biggest danger right now is that we’ve become a party that dabbles — not just dabbles — we traffic in conspiracies and we traffic in lies,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, according to The Los Angeles Times.
On Sunday, Kinzinger posted a video on the website country1st.com. “Our country’s future is truly unlimited. After all, we are the party that ended slavery, secured women’s suffrage, and won the war against communist tyranny. Now we must be the party that lifts up the rural town and the inner city. We must be the party that empowers every student to soar and every family to thrive,” the website says.
Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last month.
“Republicans must say enough is enough. It’s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and rage. It’s time to turn back from the edge of darkness and return to the ideals that have long been our guiding light,” he said in the recorded video. “It’s now or never. The choice is ours. I’ve made mine, and I hope every Republican, and every American who shares our values, will choose to join me. Let’s take back our party.”
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