The massive Republican exodus from Donald Trump continues as another two dozen former members of Congress announced they will not vote for their nominee next month.
“As Republican members of Congress, we took pride in representing a political party that stood for honest and principled public leadership in which the American people could place their trust,” they wrote in a joint statement. “Sadly, our party’s nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress.”
The letter also states that Donald Trump is “manifestly unqualified” for the presidency.
Those who signed the letter of opposition to Trump are:
- Steve Bartlett (R-Texas)
- Bob Bauman (R-Md.)
- Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.)
- Jack Buechner (R-Mo.)
- Tom Campbell (R-Calif.)
- Bill Clinger (R-Pa.)
- Tom Coleman (R-Mo.)
- Geoff Davis (R-Ky.)
- Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.)
- Harris Fawell (R-Ill.)
- Ed Foreman (R-Texas, N.M.)
- Amo Houghton Jr. (R-N.Y.)
- Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.)
- Bob Inglis (R-S.C.)
- Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.)
- Steve Kuykendall (R-Calif.)
- Jim Leach (R-Iowa)
- Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.)
- Connie Morella (R-Md.)
- Mike Parker (R-Miss.)
- Tom Petri (R-Wis.)
- John Porter (R-Ill.)
- Claudine Schneider (R-R.I.)
- John “Joe” Schwarz (R-Miss.)
- Chris Shays (R-Conn.)
- Peter Smith (R-Vt.)
- Edward Weber (R-Ohio)
- Vin Weber (R-Minn.)
- G. William Whitehurst (R-Va.)
- Dick Zimmer (R-N.J.)
Humphrey, a recognized conservative from New Hampshire, called Trump a “defective nominee” who is “deranged” and whose “psyche is sick.”
“It would be the height of irresponsibility to give him the powers of the presidency,” said Humphrey. “It would be an act of recklessness to give him the office of commander in chief. This needs to be said, and there’s a growing census in agreement that Donald Trump is mentally unfit to be president of the United States. And the RNC on that account, this week or next, should revoke the nomination and choose a candidate who is experienced, but at the same time, of mental soundness.”
Also on the letter is Schneider, the first and only woman from Rhode Island ever elected to the House, who said about Trump, “it is very offensive to me that we have the first candidate ever running for president who routinely disparages half of our population, and to me that’s absolutely unthinkable for the Oval Office.”
Weber, a key leader in the Newt Gingrich revolution that brought Republicans back into congressional power in 1994, calls Trump’s nomination “a mistake of historic proportions.”
“I won’t vote for Trump,” said Weber, who represented Minnesota in the House for a dozen years. “I can’t imagine I’d remain a Republican if he becomes president. I think markets would collapse.”
Last week former Virginia Sen. John Warner endorsed Hillary Clinton and slammed Trump for his lack of foreign policy experience saying, “You can’t pull up a quick text like ‘National Security for Dummies.’”
Warner, a former five-time elected senator, remains popular in this key battleground state. In his endorsement speech he said Hillary Clinton, “has a foundation of her own to build upon as president, while the other candidate, in my judgement, does not.”
Former Senator Larry Pressler endorsed Clinton after the Orlando shooting.
“I can’t believe I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, but I am,” said Pressler. “This morning, I woke up and told my wife, ‘Did I really do that?’ But I did.”
Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican from Trump’s home state of New York, announced he’ll vote for Hillary Clinton, becoming the first sitting GOP member of congress to cross party lines.
“I never expect to agree with whoever is president, but at a minimum the president needs to consistently display those qualities I have preached to my two children: kindness, honesty, dignity, compassion and respect,” said Hanna. “While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton. I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing. I trust she can lead.”
Sen. Susan Collins, the senior senator from Maine, does not back Trump.
“Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country,” said Collins. “My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics. Instead, he opts to mock the vulnerable and inflame prejudices by attacking ethnic and religious minorities.”
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse says Republicans should write-in another name on the ballot.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70-percent solutions for the next four years?” said Sasse. “You know…an adult?”
Sen. Jeff Flake has not endorsed Clinton, but says Trump could cost the GOP control of the U.S. Senate.
“Donald Trump has managed to make Arizona an interesting state in terms of presidential politics, and not in the way that Republicans have wanted,” said Flake.
Former Sen. William Cohen, also a former Defense Secretary, says, “I would not feel comfortable with Trump, and I’d feel more comfortable with Hillary Clinton, certainly.”
In Florida, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she will not vote for Trump and instead, “I think I’ll write in the name Jeb Bush.”
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham do not support Trump.
Rep. Scott Rigell, of battleground Virginia, says he is voting for Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of the GOP nominee.
“Donald Trump is a bully, unworthy of our nomination,” said Rigell. “My love for our country eclipses my loyalty to our party, and to live with a clear conscience I will not support a nominee so lacking in the judgment, temperament and character needed to be our nation’s commander-in-chief.”
Former Rep. J.C. Watts says he’ll write-in a candidate before voting for Trump. “It’s going to be a tremendous setback for the party if he wins,” he said.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an up-and-comer in the GOP, has also announced he cannot vote for Trump in November.
“Donald Trump is beginning to cross a lot of red lines of the unforgivable in politics,” said Kinzinger. “I’m not going to support Hillary, but in America we have the right to skip somebody. That’s what it’s looking like for me today. I don’t see how I get to Donald Trump anymore.”
Rep. Bob Dold says he won’t back Trump and that the country is “looking for a uniter, not a divider.”
Former Rep. Mel Martinez, who is also a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, says, “I would not vote for Trump, clearly. If there is any, any, any other choice, a living, breathing person with a pulse, I would be there.”
The names on the growing list of “Republicans for Clinton” is making it easier for others, many who feel Trump is dangerous, to publicly make the endorsement of her.
Former President George H. W. Bush , a one-time rival of Bill Clinton, let it be known earlier this month he’s voting for Hillary. His wife Barbara Bush, the popular former first lady, said, “I don’t know how women could vote for Donald Trump.”
While not endorsing Clinton, President George W. Bush, along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, have announced they will not vote for Trump.
Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, also has said he will not back Trump.
“There’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake,” said Romney. “Mr. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign.”
Over 50 GOP national security experts, including former C.I.A. director Michael Hayden, have signed a statement of opposition to Trump.
“He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood,” the letter said. “He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be president and commander-in-chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.”
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who was the lead Republican counsel on the Senate Whitewater Committee in the 1990’s and one of the top Clinton adversaries, last week endorsed Clinton.
“I realized we spent a huge amount of time in the ’90s on issues that were much less important than what was brewing in terms of terrorism,” said Chertoff. “Hillary Clinton has good judgment and a strategic vision how to deal with the threats that face us.”
The founding director of the George W. Bush presidential library also endorsed Clinton last month.
“Hillary Clinton is by far the superior candidate,” said James Glassman, who was also the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy during the Bush presidency. “She has the experience. She’s got the character. She has the values. She is the kind of candidate I support and that, as I say, millions of Republicans are supporting.”
Glassman joins David Nierenberg, one of Mitt Romney’s original national finance committee chairs, in publicly backing Clinton.
“I have decided to endorse and support Hillary Clinton for president, even though everybody else I will vote for this November will be a real Republican,” said Nierenberg. “Hillary Clinton knows her stuff. She is emotionally mature and centered. She respects and enjoys working with people from all backgrounds.”
The endorsements come as the nation’s top defense contractors, long a bastion of support for Republican presidential candidates, are now contributing to Clinton’s campaign by a ratio of 2-to-1.
“I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats of all stripes over the years,” said Linda Hudson, who ran the U.S. branch of BAE Systems, the Pentagon’s eighth largest contractor. “And it’s the first time I’ve seen one who scares the hell out of me if he were to become president.”
Two former chairmen of the White House Council of Economic Advisors have also announced they will not back Trump.
“I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon,” said Martin Feldstein, chairman under President Ronald Reagan. “They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs. The same was true of Mitt Romney. Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgement.”
Similarly, Gregory Mankiw, chairman under President George W. Bush, said: “Mr. Trump has not laid out a coherent economic worldview, but one recurrent theme is hostility to a free and open system of international trade. From my perspective as an economics policy wonk, that by itself is disqualifying. And then there are issues of temperament.”
Former MGM CEO Harry Sloan, a Republican fundraising giant, has announced he cannot support Trump.
“He does not embody the values that have made me a lifelong Republican,” said Sloan. “He is unprepared and temperamentally unfit to be our President. Most of my Republican friends feel the same way. As a businessman, a father, and a conservative it is clear to me that Hillary Clinton is the right choice in this election.”
A former political director for President Ronald Reagan, Frank Lavin, said earlier this month he is backing Hillary Clinton.
“It might not be entirely clear that Hillary Clinton deserves to win the presidency, but it is thunderingly clear that Donald Trump deserves to lose,” said Lavin who worked as Reagan’s political director in the 1980’s. “From this premise, I will do something that I have not done in 40 years of voting: I will vote for the Democratic nominee for president. The depressing truth of the Republican nominee is that Donald Trump talks a great game but he is the emperor who wears no clothes.”
Former commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez; former housing and urban development secretary Carla Hills; and former director of national intelligence John Negroponte all endorsed Clinton earlier this month.
Former members of Republican administrations have endorsed Trump, including:
- Stuart Bernstein, ambassador to Denmark under President George W. Bush.
- Phil Brady, counsel to President Ronald Reagan and special assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush
- William A. Pierce, deputy assistant secretary during Bush administration.
- Roger Wallace, deputy undersecretary for international trade during Bush administration.
- Howard Denis, former state senator and five-time delegate to the Republican National Convention.
- Nicholas Rostow, former special assistant to Reagan and George W. Bush.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Trump is unprepared for the presidency and “beyond repair.”
“He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform,” said Gates. “He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief.”
William D. Ruckelshaus, the EPA administrator during the Nixon and Reagan administrations, and William Reilly, the EPA administrator during the Bush administration, both endorsed Hillary Clinton.
“Republicans have a long history of support for the environment dating back to Theodore Roosevelt,” they said in a statement. “Donald Trump has shown a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws. He hasn’t a clue about Republicans’ historic contributions to science-driven environmental policy.”
Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA director during the Bush administration, also plans to vote for Hillary Clinton.
“You’ll see a lot of Republicans do that,” said Whitman. “We don’t want to, but I know I won’t vote for Trump.”
Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who was also America’s Homeland Security Director, says 2016 will be the first time in his life he hasn’t voted for the Republican presidential nominee.
“With a bumper sticker approach to policy, Donald Trump’s bombastic tone reflects the traits of a bully, not an American president and statesman,” said Ridge. “If he cannot unite Republicans, how can he unite America? I simply cannot endorse him.”
Hanna is not alone. Longtime GOP national security adviser Brent Scowcroft endorsed Clinton too.
“I believe Hillary Clinton has the wisdom and experience to lead our country at this critical time,” said Scowcroft. “She brings deep expertise in international affairs, and a sophisticated understanding of the world, essential for the Commander-in-Chief.”
Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state under George W. Bush, and the assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, has endorsed Clinton.
George W. Bush’s former Treasury Security, Hank Paulson, also backs the Democratic nominee.
“The GOP, in putting Trump at the top of the ticket, is endorsing a brand of populism rooted in ignorance, prejudice, fear and isolationism,” said Paulson. “This troubles me deeply as a Republican, but it troubles me even more as an American. Enough is enough. It’s time to put country before party and say it together: Never Trump.”
President George W. Bush’s former deputy assistant and deputy press secretary Tony Fratto also backs Clinton.
“If my vote was going to make a difference, I’d prefer to have Hillary Clinton in the White House than Donald Trump,” said Fratto. “I think it’s really easy: Trump is not fit for office.”
Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for presidents Reagan and both Bush’s, says the thought of a Trump presidency is “chilling.”
“Mr. Trump’s virulent combination of ignorance, emotional instability, demagogy, solipsism and vindictiveness would do more than result in a failed presidency; it could very well lead to national catastrophe,” said Wehner. “The prospect of Donald Trump as commander in chief should send a chill down the spine of every American.”
Wadi Gaitan, the mouthpiece of the Florida Republican Party, quit earlier this year due to Trump.
“I’m thankful for my almost two years with the Florida GOP, however, moving on gives me a great, new opportunity to continue promoting free market solutions while avoiding efforts that support Donald Trump,” said Gaitan who is Latino.
The former chief policy director for Republicans in the House, Evan McMullin, has launched an independent, conservative bid for president because of Trump.
McMullin, a former CIA operations officer, tweeted last month, “Authoritarians like Donald Trump use promises of law & order to justify infringing on civil rights as they consolidate control by force.”
Another former top aide of President George W. Bush, Lezlee Westine, announced her support of Hillary Clinton.
“Our nation faces a unique set of challenges that require steady and experienced leadership,” said Westine. “That is why today I am personally supporting Hillary Clinton. She has the expertise and commitment to American values to grow the economy, create jobs and protect America at home and abroad.”
Former Michigan Gov. William Milliken suggested a vote for Trump would be a choice to “embark on a path that has doomed other governments and nations throughout history.”
“Because I feel so strongly about our nation’s future, I will be joining the growing list of former and present government officials in casting my vote for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016,” said Milliken.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says about Trump, “I’m not going to vote for him in November,” adding the things Trump has said about “women and Muslims and religious freedom, I just can’t support.”
In California, Meg Whitman, a top GOP financial supporter, endorsed Hillary Clinton last month.
“As a proud Republican, casting my vote for President has usually been a simple matter,” said Whitman. “This year is different. To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division. Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character.”
In Ohio, a state considered a must-win for Trump, the former popular Attorney General Betty Montgomery announced she will not vote for Trump.
“I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed,” said Montgomery. “I don’t see him representing America and American values. I’m not abandoning my party, but at some point the safety and security of your country and its place in the world is more important than party.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich has not endorsed the GOP nominee and skipped the convention in Cleveland last month. Kasich says he does not believe Trump can win the Buckeye State.
“He’s going to win parts of Ohio where people are really hurting,” said Kasich. “But I still think it’s difficult, if you are dividing, to be able to win in Ohio. I think it’s really, really difficult.”
Ohio is viewed as critical to Trump’s chances to winning 270 electoral votes. No Republican in history has won the White House without carrying it.
In Arizona, former two-term Attorney General Grant Woods is leading a national “Republicans for Clinton” effort.
“Hillary Clinton is one of the most qualified nominees to ever run for president, Donald Trump is the least qualified ever,” said Woods. “The stakes are too high to stand on the sideline. I stand with Hillary Clinton for president.”
Sally Bradshaw, a longtime aide to Jeb Bush, and Maria Comella, a former top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have also recently renounced Trump’s candidacy.
Mike Fernandez, a Miami billionaire and longtime GOP fundraiser, has endorsed Clinton, comparing Trump to a scorpion.
“As a Republican who has contributed millions of dollars to the party’s causes, I ask: ‘Why has our party not sought a psychological evaluation of its nominee?’” said Fernandez.
The former Republican mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has questioned Trump’s sanity and called him a con man.
“Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business,” said Bloomberg. “God help us. I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one. Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says he’ll “write someone in” besides Trump in November.
Marc Raciot, the popular former two-term governor of Montana and chairman of the Republican National Committee during the George W. Bush presidency, said, “Americans can choose better than Trump.”
Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012, says, “Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president. If you have a friend who is about to marry a guy who is 70 years old and he promises he will change, what would your advice be?” “No one changes at 70.”
Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president at AT&T, who also served in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, endorsed Clinton saying, “it is vital to put our country’s well being ahead of party.”
Michael Murphy, a longtime Republican strategist says Trump “fails my commander-in-chief test. I think he is a stunning ignoramus on foreign policy issues and national security. The guy has a chimpanzee-level understanding of national security policy.”
Kori Schake, a conservative national security official under Bush, endorsed Clinton saying, “What I think is more likely than a reconciliation with Trump by conservative foreign policy and defense policy experts is a slow, agonizing reconciliation that Hillary Clinton is a safer pair of hands.”
Matt Higgins, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s press secretary, says his 9-year-old son helped him make the decision to back Clinton. “Since you’re a Republican, do they make you vote for the Republican?” his son asked after Trump’s acceptance speech. Higgins, a lifelong Republican, is now fundraising for the Democratic nominee.
Mark Salter, a former strategist for John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, also backs Clinton: “Trump is an awful human being. He appeals to a sliver of the country that mystifies me.”
Doug Elmets, a former Reagan administration staffer and GOP communications consultant, says he has never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate, but this year he is heading “Republicans for Hillary.”
“I don’t believe Donald Trump is a Republican,” said Elmets. “I think Donald Trump is a brand. And he’s managed to hoodwink America into believing he will lead this country through the fire. I think he will thrust us into the fire.”
Kevin Madden, a key strategist and national press spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, says he’ll put character ahead of party in this election.
“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Madden. “It’s a litmus test for character. I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”
John Weaver, chief strategist for John Kasich’s 2016 campaign, says he will not vote for Trump and “will take the America of Khizr Khan and his fallen son over Trump’s distorted and selfish version every day of the week.”
Eliot Cohen, who held various positions in the Bush administration, says his “short list” on why he doesn’t support Trump include, “demagoguery, torture, bigotry, misogyny, isolationism, violence. Not the Party of Lincoln and not me.”
Mike Treiser, a former staffer on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, wrote on Facebook: “In the face of bigotry, hatred, violence, and small-mindedness, this time, I’m with her.”
Conservative columnist George Will said last month a Clinton term is less dangerous for the nation than Trump.
The Harvard Republican Club announced it would not back Trump, and called for Republican leaders to withdraw their support of the candidate they called a “threat to the survival of the Republic.”
“His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy,” the Republican Club said in a statement. “He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial endorsed Clinton on Thursday, predicting Donald Trump would be “the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House.”
The top circulated paper in the country, USA Today, has never taken a side in a presidential race, but this month called Trump “erratic, ill-equipped, prejudiced, reckless and a serial liar.”
The moderate Atlantic magazine has only endorsed three presidential candidates since 1860: Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson and now Hillary Clinton. “Donald Trump has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office,” read the editorial.
Conservative newspapers including the Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer, Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union Tribune, and the Houston Chronicle have all endorsed Clinton. The Enquirer called Trump a “clear and present danger” to the country. The Union Tribune and Republic had never endorsed a Democrat prior to this year.