Presidential races

Dozens of former GOP lawmakers announce opposition to Trump

A group of 30 former GOP lawmakers signed a blistering open letter to Republicans on Thursday, warning that Donald Trump lacks the “intelligence” and temperament to be president and urging the party to reject the Republican presidential nominee at the polls on Nov. 8.

{mosads}The group includes several former lawmakers who have openly opposed Trump from the start, including former Sen. Gordon Humphrey (N.H.) and former Rep. Vin Weber (Minn.).

But more than half of the former lawmakers on the list are announcing their opposition to Trump for the first time.

The group includes former committee chairmen, lawmakers from swing states with decades of experience on Capitol Hill, one of the first openly gay members of Congress, and one member who led investigations on Capitol Hill into scandals involving the Clintons.

“Our party’s nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress,” the group said in a statement.

“Given the enormous power of the office, every candidate for president must be judged rigorously in assessing whether he or she has the competence, intelligence, knowledge, understanding, empathy, judgment, and temperament necessary to keep America on a safe and steady course,” the letter continues. “Donald Trump fails on each of those measures, and he has proven himself manifestly unqualified to be president.”

Among those who signed the letter are swing-state stalwarts like Reps. Bill Clinger (Penn.), Jim Leach (Iowa), Tom Petri (Wis.) and G. William Whitehurst (Va.), each of whom spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill.

Petri, the Wisconsin Republican, is a close ally of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Clinger was the chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee and led House investigations into the Bill Clinton administration’s “Filegate” and “Travelgate” controversies.

Leach, a close ally of former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), spent 30 years in Congress and rose to chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee.

Other former members rejecting Trump include Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.), who chaired the House Science and Technology Committee, Jim Kolbe (Ariz.), the second openly gay Republican in Congress, Amo Houghton Jr. (N.Y.), who was once the wealthiest member of Congress, and Geoff Davis (Ky.), who was consistently among the most conservative Republicans in Congress.

The effort was spearheaded by former Reps. Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.) and Tom Coleman (R-Mo.).

“In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges,” the group said.

“He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country. Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation.”

The new round of opposition from prominent Republicans actively working to sink their party’s nominee comes just 33 days before the election and three days before Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton square off at the second pivotal presidential debate of 2016.

Clinton has opened up a clear lead over Trump in the polls and is favored to win the White House, in part because Trump has been unable to convince skeptical Republicans to get on board with his campaign.

Trump has repeatedly been stung by high-profile defections from Republicans, including military leaders and former administration officials from both Bush presidencies.

The letter from former Republican officials highlights those divisions at a crucial moment in the race.

“We are proud of our service in the United States Congress and proud that we served in that role as Republicans,” the letter states.

“It is in that spirit that, as Donald Trump’s unfitness for public office has become ever more apparent, we urge our fellow Republicans not to vote for this man whose disgraceful candidacy is indefensible. This is no longer about our party; it’s now about America. We may differ on how we will cast our ballots in November but none of us will vote for Donald Trump.”

— Reid Wilson contributed to this report.

The full list of signors is below:

Steve Bartlett (Texas)

Bob Bauman (Md.)

Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.) 

Jack Buechner (Mo.)

Tom Campbell (Calif.)

Bill Clinger (Penn.)

Tom Coleman (Mo.)

Geoff Davis (Ky.) 

Mickey Edwards (Okla.) 

Harris Fawell (Ill.)

Ed Foreman (Texas and N.M.)

Amo Houghton, Jr. (N.Y.) 

Gordon Humphrey (N.H.)

Bob Inglis (S.C.) 

Jim Kolbe (Ariz.) 

Steve Kuykendall (Calif.)

Jim Leach (Iowa) 

Pete McCloskey (Calif.)

Connie Morella (Md.) 

Mike Parker (Miss.)

Tom Petri (Wis.) 

John Porter (Ill.)

Claudine Schneider (R.I.)

John “Joe” Schwarz (Mich.) 

Chris Shays (Conn.)

Peter Smith (Vt.)

Edward Weber (Ohio)

Vin Weber (Minn.) 

G. William Whitehurst (Va.)

Dick Zimmer (R-N.J.)

Tags Bill Clinton Boehner Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John Boehner Paul Ryan Tom Petri

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