Council on Foreign Relations president invokes former boss Reagan in quitting GOP

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass on Wednesday announced that he has officially left the Republican Party, invoking a version of former President Reagan’s famous quote: “I didn’t leave the Republican Party; the Party left me.”

Haass, a veteran diplomat who worked under multiple presidential administrations, tweeted Wednesday that he had changed his voter registration to “no party affiliation” after 40 years as a member of the Republican Party. 

“I worked for Reagan & Bush 41 & 43. But today’s Rep Party no longer embraces the policies & principles that led me to join it,” Haass wrote. 

“To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I didn’t leave the Republican Party; the Party left me,” he added, referencing the reasoning Reagan gave after switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party in 1962. 

The announcement from Haass, who became a vocal critic of former President Trump’s foreign policy throughout his time in office, comes as there appears to be a rift in the Republican Party between Trump allies and traditional conservatives who have condemned the former president’s controversial actions.

According to an analysis of public voting records obtained by The Hill Wednesday, nearly 140,000 voters left the Republican Party in 25 states in January, with large departures recorded in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Arizona, both of which President Biden took in the 2020 election. 

Several top Republican lawmakers have also condemned Trump in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 mob attack at the Capitol that critics claim was spurred by Trump’s repeated unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

Last month, 10 House Republicans, including the GOP’s House conference chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), joined all House Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, charging him with inciting the Capitol riot. 

Haass, who according to the Council on Foreign Relations website is in his 18th year as president of the nonprofit think tank, served in various positions in the Defense and State departments under the Carter and Reagan administrations. 

From 1989 to 1993, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the national security council. Later on, he was the State Department’s director of policy planning and served as a principal adviser to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. 

Following Biden’s November announcement of longtime foreign policy adviser Antony Blinken as his pick for secretary of State, Haass was among those who praised the decision.

He tweeted at the time that he believed Blinken would speak with authority on behalf of Biden and with knowledge of the issues and the State Department.

“Good man, good choice,” Haass wrote on Twitter.

Tags 2020 election Antony Blinken Arizona Capitol breach Capitol riot Colin Powell Council on Foreign Relations Donald Trump George H.W. Bush George W. Bush House Joe Biden Liz Cheney Pennsylvania Richard Haass Ronald Reagan Twitter

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