Anti-Trump GOP senator: Clinton a bigger threat
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkEx-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby The global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year MORE (R-Ill.) won't back his party's presidential nominee, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE, but he says Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently MORE is a bigger threat to the U.S. 

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"I think right now Hillary Clinton [is the bigger risk] because in Illinois we really understand corruption after the Blagojevich years," Kirk told CNN on Wednesday, referring to the jailed former governor of Illinois. 

Kirk unendorsed Trump in June after the businessman said an Indiana-born federal judge's Mexican heritage prevented him from presiding fairly over a case. 

The senator stood by that decision Wednesday, calling the GOP presidential nominee "too racist and too bigoted for the Land of Lincoln." 

Kirk encouraged fellow Republicans, including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan praises Trump: 'He's not taking any crap' The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Ocasio-Cortez calls out Steve King, Liz Cheney amid controversy over concentration camp remarks MORE (R-Wis.), to write in a candidate in November instead of voting for Clinton or Trump. 

"Find a way to write in an American that you think can really lead this country to a much better shining city on a hill," Kirk said. 

Kirk said he will write in Colin Powell, who served as secretary of State under former President George W. Bush. He dismissed the idea that writing in someone not running would help Clinton win the presidency. 

"I would say it is a vote not for Hillary Clinton. ... We should not have such a person with so many conflicts of interest in office as our president of the United States," Kirk said. 

Kirk said he won't support Clinton because of her support for President Obama's Iran nuclear agreement, but Powell similarly supported it last year, calling it a "pretty good deal." 

Kirk is seeking reelection in a state where Clinton will be the runaway favorite in the presidential election. Obama won Illinois by large margins in 2008 and 2012, and it is seen as a safe Democratic state in presidential contests.

Kirk, who will face Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) this fall, had previously said he’d support the eventual Republican nominee.