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GOP Leaders: The Moment of Truth is at Hand; The Time To Rescind Your Support of Trump is Now

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History Has Its Eyes on You

Yesterday, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post called the question on GOP leaders:

“If individual Republicans don’t break off their support for Trump’s candidacy now — by, say, withdrawing their endorsements — they run the risk of having no choice but to do so after Trump sinks further into wretchedness and depravity…At that juncture, their move will look unprincipled and desperate, leaving them stained — perhaps irrevocably — with their previous willingness to stick by him during much of his descent, and depriving their break with him of whatever moral force it might have had if done earlier.”

The money quote in the piece is from former Jeb Bush advisor and Republican strategist Tim Miller, who stated, “If Republicans are going to have to disavow Trump eventually because of how bad his behavior has gotten, it is incumbent on them to get the political benefit of doing it when it’s a principled stand, rather than waiting until they are backed into a corner and there’s no other choice.”

Today, the first Republican elected official, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), announced he would support Hillary Clinton. Yesterday, prominent Republican strategist Sally Bradshaw indicated she would be willing to vote for Hillary Clinton. The question must now be asked of each and every Republican running for office or influential within the Party: are you going to stand with Trump and put party over patriotism? Or are you going to withdraw your support of Trump in order to save the country from a Trump presidency? Put another way, what more do you need to hear from your party’s nominee that would lead you to withdraw your support?

Below, we present some of the recent and eloquent Republican and conservative calls for fellow GOP leaders to stand up and reject Trump:

Rep. Richard Hanna, Republican congressman: Rep. Hanna (R-NY), a three-term Republican congressman representing upstate New York, became the first sitting Republican Member of Congress or Senator to announce support for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Rep. Hanna said that Trump’s attacks on the Khan family made him feel “incensed … I was stunned by the callousness of his comments,” and noted, “I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?” Rep. Hanna further explained, “Where do we draw the line? I thought it would have been when he alleged that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was caught. Or the countless other insults he’s proudly lobbed from behind the Republican presidential podium. For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country … I can’t look back in my life when I leave this job and know that I didn’t speak the truth when it was important to do so.”

Michael Gerson, conservative columnist and former Republican speechwriter: Gerson’s latest column calls on Republicans to withdraw support for Trump, putting his call for opposition into important historical and moral context: “Leaders who support Trump — members of Congress, conservative thinkers, figures of the religious right — do so for a variety of reasons. But whatever their motivations, they are encouraging an alternate and degraded version of the American story. In Trump’s telling, this is a nation that was once great but is now besieged and infiltrated by threats to its identity….And Trump’s America is defined as the familiar nation of decades past, which was largely white and Christian….Those who support Trump are setting the Republican Party at odds with the American story told by Lincoln and King: a nationalism defined by striving toward unifying ideals of freedom and human dignity. Is this what the speaker of the House, the Senate majority leader, the chairman of the Republican Party and so many other good people intended when they entered politics? Is this how they define their soul’s high purpose? In his last public address, the night before his murder, King mused on mortality, saying that he would die ‘happy’ and ‘not fearing any man’ because he was sure of his life’s mission, which included ‘standing up for the best in the American dream.’ Which Republican leaders can now rest in that confidence? It is not too late to repudiate.”

Sally Bradshaw, Republican strategist: Bradshaw, a close advisor to Jeb Bush, told CNN yesterday that she is leaving the Republican Party and is planning to vote for Hillary Clinton. Bradshaw said that the Republican Party is “at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot … This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president … This election cycle is a test … As much as I don’t want another four years of (President Barack) Obama’s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”

Peter Wehner, former Reagan and Bush staffer and conservative author: Wehner tweeted, “Memo to Trump supporters: He’s a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom. Now go ahead & defend him.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “This presidential contest is not so much a typical debate between right and left. It’s become a contest between bigotry and pluralism; between exclusion and inclusion; between ‘us vs. them’ and E Pluribus Unum. America is a permanently evolving nation in which diverse peoples work to make this a more perfect union — one in which people of all races, creeds, and backgrounds work to make America’s promise of equal opportunities and equal rights a reality for all. The central question in this election, then, is not one of partisanship but of patriotism. History is watching and it will not be kind to those who evidence moral cowardice when the fate of the American experiment hangs in the balance.”