The aftermath of Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee has left many Republicans in a quandary — many don’t want to be associated with Trump.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham this week tweeted: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.” He previously called Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.”
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who previously wrote that “A presidential candidate who boasts about what he’ll do during his ‘reign’ and refuses to condemn the KKK cannot lead a conservative movement in America,” this week tweeted: “Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me. The answer is simple: No.”
It is this association with racism and bigotry that has vulnerable down-ballot Republican candidates worried. GOP congressional candidates in states like Florida and throughout the Southwest with large Hispanic populations fear their endorsement of Trump will alienate Latino voters, for example.
As a result, Trump will not receive many public endorsements but will earn their votes nonetheless. Meanwhile, a handful of prominent Republicans have flat-out said not only will they not vote for Trump, but will vote for Clinton or leave the GOP altogether.
Mike Treiser, a former staffer on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, wrote on Facebook: “In the face of bigotry, hatred, violence, and small-mindedness, this time, I’m with her,” using the Clinton hashtag slogan “I’m with her.”
Mark Salter, who worked as a strategist for John McCain, also said he would support Clinton over Trump. “He’s an awful human being. He appeals to a sliver of the country that mystifies me.”
Ben Howe, a contributing editor at conservative website Red State, tweeted: “I am a fiscal conservative and I am a social conservative. That will not change. But I will not vote for an egomaniacal authoritarian. Nope.” He also added #ImWithHer.
Philip Klein, the managing editor of the Washington Examiner, posted a photo Tuesday night of a voter identification form showing him officially changing his registration from Republican.
Jamie Weinstein, senior editor of conservative news site Daily Caller, wrote: “I’m a lifelong conservative, but Hillary is preferable to Trump just like Malaria is preferable to Ebola. Malaria is curable. Ebola is more often deadly.”
A tweet by John McCain’s daughter Meghan summed up the sentiment: “I guess when I said in 2012 that my party was going to evolve or it was going to die — it was easier to choose death.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the past has called Trump a “con artist” and “the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the U.S. presidency.”
Ronald Reagan’s son Michael this week tweeted: “The Republican Party is no longer the Party of Reagan it is now the Party of Trump. Good Luck.”
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck said on the radio this week that as the leader and face of the GOP Trump makes the party appear to be one consisting of a bunch of racists and said he has nothing to do with the party anymore.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus this week said “it will take some time” for Republicans to get behind Trump. “This was a very contentious battle. It’s not easy when you have 17 candidates and people’s second and third choices didn’t win.”