In an article in yesterday’s Washington Post, GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced that she would not support Donald Trump in the November election. Senator Collins indicated that she had considered this decision over many months and came to it only reluctantly. The relatively moderate senior senator from Maine is a lifelong member of the Republican Party and has represented her state since 1997. Collins went on to say in the article that Trump’s never-ending stream of offensive statements and reckless suggestions finally forced her hand.
Combined with other defections among the Republicans, Senator Collins’ denunciation of Trump took some of the wind out of his sails following his major address Monday on economic policies and taxation. Unfortunately for Trump, this particular problem seems likely to grow worse in the near future. Even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has indicated recently that his tacit support of Trump is not a “blank check” and could be withdrawn.
Senator Collins suggests in her announcement that she had hoped for a change in Trump once he left the primary season and entered into the general election campaign. Like many other Republicans, Collins expected a major pivot by Trump in which he would start sounding like a more traditional Republican candidate. But the Senator finally seems to realize that Trump is apparently incapable of even sticking to the script, let alone pivoting.
In doing this, Senator Collins is joining many other Republicans – both in and out of government – who will not support Trump, will not vote for Trump or will actively vote for and support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The fact that such prominent Republicans are even contemplating voting for their old adversary, Hillary Clinton, shows how alarmed they must be by Donald Trump.
Trump’s almost unprecedented nosedive in the most recent national polls may have played a major role in well-known Republicans like Senator Collins deciding to turn their backs on the Republican Party nominee. Certainly, many Republicans in the Senate and House are worried that a rapidly sinking Trump could drag them under as well come November.
As pointed out in the New York Times, a number of important Republican lawmakers have – as Collins did on Monday – announced over the last few months they would not support or vote for Donald Trump. This ever-growing list includes Senator Cruz of Texas, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois and Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Others – like Senator Jim Flake of Arizona – have simply withheld their support.
Some other prominent Republicans not currently in government have announced that they are not only not supporting Trump, but they are actively supporting the Clinton campaign. This includes former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and major Republican fundraiser – and former California gubernatorial candidate – Meg Whitman.
Even the legendary Koch brothers – longtime heavy hitters and donors in the Republican Party – have chosen to withhold their support for Donald Trump. At a meeting where other Republican billionaires convened to convince the Koch brothers to give Trump their stamp of approval, the Koch Brothers refused to back the blustering Republican nominee. In fact, the Kochs apparently even turned some of these other major donors away from Trump.
CNN reports that – along with this stampede of Republican officeholders and Republican Party donors jumping off the Trump bandwagon – 50 prominent Republican national security experts issued a letter on Monday voicing their opposition to the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. In this letter, they make clear their view that Trump represents a major threat to the nation’s security, saying that he, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”
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