POLITICS
10/06/2016 12:12 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2016

We Just Can't Back Donald Trump, 30 Former GOP Lawmakers Say In Letter

The guy is too toxic for many ex-public officials.
Some Republicans can't bring themselves to back GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Evan Vucci/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Some Republicans can't bring themselves to back GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

For months now, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has tried to cleave more moderate Republicans away from their party by playing up how uniquely horrendous Donald Trump is as a GOP standard-bearer.

At the Democratic National Convention, Clinton had former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once a Republican himself, deliver a high-profile speech. Before and after, she touted the endorsements she’d received from top GOP national security officials and former cabinet members. Her campaign even publicly flirted with trying to get the support of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, despite how despised he remains for much of the Democratic Party base.

On Thursday, Clinton’s endeavors got a boost ― though, apparently, through no effort of her own. Thirty Republicans who served in Congress signed a letter saying they couldn’t vote for Trump in the general election. 

“In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges,” the letter reads. “He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country. Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation.”

Among the letter’s signatories are former Reps. Bob Bauman (R-Md.), Steve Bartlett (R-Texas), Tom Coleman (R-Mo.), Bill Clinger (R-Pa.), Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.), Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), Vin Weber (R-Minn.), and Dick Zimmer (R-N.J.), and former Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.).

Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing [Trump] to lead our nation. Letter from former Republican lawmakers

The signatories made “no mention of Hillary Clinton,” noted CNN, which first reported their letter. So while some of them may vote for the Democratic nominee, others may vote for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a Libertarian.

But the power of the former lawmakers’ statement does not lie in the votes they will cast. It lies in the symbolic weight of their decision to reject their party’s nominee. Some of these former lawmakers were self-avowed moderates, and others had already said they weren’t supporting Trump. But many are traditional Republicans whose abandonment of the GOP nominee is noteworthy.

And it won’t be a surprise to see the Clinton campaign play this up in the days ahead.

Here’s a complete list of the letter’s signatories:

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) (R-N.M.)

Amo Houghton, Jr. (R-N.Y.)

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-Mich.)

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.)

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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