Andy McKean, Iowa’s long-serving Republican legislator, has quit the party — citing the GOP’s tacit approval of Donald Trump’s “unacceptable behavior” and “reckless spending.” McKean, a Republican legislator for 26 years and a registered Republican for nearly half a century, said he is aghast by the direction the GOP has taken under Trump’s leadership, according to The Washington Post.
McKean said that with Trump being the standard-bearer of the Republican Party, he could not go on identifying as a Republican, himself. Instead, McKean has chosen to register as a Democrat — a decision he called “very difficult” during his address to the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines on Tuesday.
“Unacceptable behavior should be called out for what it is. And Americans of all parties should insist on something far better in the leader of their country and the free world,” McKean told the assembled legislators as he announced his decision to leave the GOP.
“I feel as a Republican that I need to be able to support the standard-bearer of our party.”
McKean said that his problems with Trump run deep. The Iowa legislator claimed that not only does the president set a bad example for American children with his divisive rhetoric and “bullying”, but also that the president has made a series of inane policy decisions which would come back to haunt America in the near future. McKean also called out his fellow Republicans, who, in his opinion, are emboldening Trump by justifying his behavior — even if it comes at the cost of debasing the political discourse.
“I believe [Trump’s] actions have coarsened political discourse, have resulted in unprecedented divisiveness and have created an atmosphere that is a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions. Some would excuse this behavior as ‘telling it like it is’ and the new normal. If this is the new normal, I want no part of it,” McKean said.
The longest serving Republican currently in #ialegis, Rep. Andy McKean, is joining our @iowahousedems caucus. Why? Because the GOP has "veered very sharply to the right" and has left little room for common sense https://t.co/FEOUhTAiWV
— Emily Waggoner (@Emily_Waggoner) April 23, 2019
— Iowa Democrats (@iowademocrats) April 23, 2019
Andy McKean joins a number of Republican legislators who have switched parties, with many of these citing Donald Trump’s behavior and policy decisions over the last two years as their motive. As The Washington Post reports, Republican state legislators from Kansas to New Jersey have left the GOP because of what they perceive to be a growing intolerance within the party.
Last December, in Kansas, four female state Republicans quit the party — citing Donald Trump’s behavior towards women and his “burn-it-all-down attitude.”