Retiring GOP lawmaker slams Trump: Integrity of our democracy 'more sacred' than partisanship
© Greg Nash

Retiring Rep. Ryan CostelloRyan Anthony CostellloHead of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts Lobbying world Overnight Energy: Park Service closing Joshua Tree after shutdown damage | Dems deliver trash from parks to White House | Dems offer bills to block offshore drilling | Oil lobby worries about Trump trade fight MORE (R-Pa.) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE over his performance at the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

Costello, who has repeatedly criticized Trump in the past, told CNN on Tuesday that Trump’s behavior during the summit undermined the “integrity of our democracy and the protection of our free and fair elections, which is more sacred than being a Republican or a Democrat."

ADVERTISEMENT

Costello’s remarks arrive as the president continues to face opposition from lawmakers from both parties after his initial comments appeared to side with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community about whether Russian interfered in the 2016 presidential election. 

When asked by CNN on Wednesday if he was afraid of speaking out against Trump following his controversial summit with the Russian president, Costello said he didn't “really care” about the possible repercussions he may face as a Republican lawmaker.

"I don't really care about that. I was elected to vote and to speak my mind," Costello said. "It's not because I like or dislike the president, it's because I think as someone who is elected to the United States Congress, that is what I feel that I should do."

Trump sought to walk back his initial comments on Tuesday, saying he misspoke. The president then added that "other people" could have also been involved in election interference.

"I don't think the international community is going to buy it, and I think the damage was done at the time that he said it and the 24 ensuing hours after that fact,” Costello said in reference to Trump’s defense. 

"When any President says things that really have nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat, but rather have to do with American institutions and who we are as a country ... you need members from both parties speaking out against that and speaking for what our shared values as Americans are," the GOP lawmaker added.

Costello announced he wouldn't seek reelection in Pennsylvania's 6th District in March, citing the "very angry" political environment as one of his reasons for the decision.