Andy McKean has been a fixture of the Iowa State Legislature for more than 40 years. He was first elected in his late 20s and went on to introduce a number legislature that protected the rights of the elderly and strengthened drunk driving laws.
Now, McKean is planning to leave the party, and said Donald Trump is to blame.
In a guest essay for The Atlantic, McKean wrote that after spending some time away from the State Legislature and serving on a county level, he returned to find that the Donald Trump era had radically changed the party. Gone was the bipartisan nature that McKean said marked his first few decades in office, replaced with sharp partisanship.
McKean blames the divisive atmosphere on Donald Trump, saying he is a bad example of politics. He also criticized the president’s personal conduct and said that he is leading America down a dark path.
“I believe that it is just a matter of time before our country pays a heavy price for President Donald Trump’s reckless spending and shortsighted financial policies; his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy; and his disdain and disregard for environmental concerns,” McKean wrote.
McKean added that Donald Trump sets a poor example for the nation and for our children, noting the personal insults delivered in a “crude and juvenile fashion,” and bullying at a time when there are major movements to put an end to bullying.
“In addition, he frequently disregards the truth and displays a willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity, and disability,” he wrote.
Andy McKean is not the first longtime Republican to leave the party over Donald Trump. Peter Wehner, a former White House aide who worked under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and as a senior adviser to George W. Bush, wrote in The Atlantic that he is now “politically homeless” due to the direction that Donald Trump has taken the party.
Wehner noted that very few Republicans seem willing to stand up to Donald Trump, while others simply accepted his transgressions in order to further a conservative agenda.
“Still other Republicans protect and defend him at every turn, serving as his attack dogs. As an institution, the party rallied behind him,” Wehner wrote, adding that, “The Republican Party is both shrinking and getting more Trumpified.”
"I’m the Longest-Serving Republican in the Iowa Legislature, and I’m Switching Parties" - Andy McKean— Gissur Simonarson (@GissiSim) May 12, 2019
It's nice to see that there are some people of conscience left in that party.https://t.co/0YiTkteKC3
Andy McKean’s decision to leave the Republican Party has earned praise among Donald Trump’s critics, both on the right and the left.