When Donald Trump took office following his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election, Republicans controlled the United States House of Representatives with 241 seats to just 194 for Democrats, according to BallotPedia numbers. But since then, a considerable percentage of those Republicans are either gone or on their way out, due to election defeats and voluntary retirements.
In fact, according to a Washington Post report on Sunday, 41 House Republicans have either dropped out of politics or announced that their current term will be their last in the 32 months since Trump’s inauguration. And according to one Michigan Republican House rep who announced his own exit from politics earlier this month, the reason for the mass exodus is clear — Trump himself.
The trigger for Michigan GOP Representative Paul Mitchell came in July, when Trump posted a series of tweets attacking “The Squad,” a group of four, first-term Democratic women of color in Congress. As The Inquisitr reported, the tweets were so racist that even one of Trump’s most devoted defenders, his Whole House adviser Kellyanne Conway, was forced to privately explain to Trump that his statements were racially inflammatory.
After complaining about the tweets to a higher-ranking House Republican, and requesting a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence in which he planned to ask Pence to press Trump to stop tweeting — a meeting that he was never granted — Mitchell simply decided to step down after his current term expires at the end of 2020.
“We’re here for a purpose — and it’s not this petty, childish bulls**t,” the 62-year-old Mitchell, now serving his second term in the House, said in an interview, as quoted by The Post.
Mitchell also complained that his daily duties in Congress now start with “every morning trying to go through the list of what’s happening in tweets of the day?” That is something he never expected when he ran for Congress, he said, according to The Post.
Chris Pack, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Washington D.C. publication Roll Call that the wave of Republican retirements was ‘nothing out of the ordinary… I wouldn’t read too much into many of these retirements.”
But as The Post report noted, the number of retirements under Trump in less than three years in about 60 percent more than the number of Democrats who retired, 25, in all four years of President Barack Obama’s first term in the White House.
Trump’s outrageous tweeting and other public statements, which some pundits interpret as an attempt to strengthen his base of hardcore voters, has eroded Republican support among suburban, white voters, several Republicans who spoke to The Post complained.
“Unless we figure out exactly how we’re going to win back suburban voters, we’re going to be in the minority for a while,” one Republican staff member, who was not identified by name, told The Post.