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Hawaii state lawmaker resigns from GOP

Hawaii state Rep. Beth Fukumoto says she’s leaving the Republican Party nearly two months after she was ousted as Hawaii’s House minority leader for criticizing President Trump.

“This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women,” Fukumoto wrote Wednesday in a letter announcing her decision. “So, when I listened as our now top office holder refused to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, speaking out didn’t seem like a choice.”

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Fukumoto accused the Republican Party of allowing "elements of racism and sexism within the base” and not addressing Trump’s “unabashed prejudices.”

She said she plans to seek membership in the Democratic Party.

The 33-year-old was elected to the Hawaii state legislature in 2012 and became the leader of the House Republican caucus in 2014. She was removed in February for her comments against the president during the Women's March in Hawaii the day after his inauguration.

In her letter Wednesday, she addressed her comments at the march.

"I said we should all agree that the campaign remarks made by our president about women and minorities were unacceptable, and that it was our responsibility, regardless of who we voted for, to show our kids that everyone should be treated with respect,” she said.

"A call for kindness and respect should have been a non-partisan message, but it was controversial within the party."

Fukumoto is now the only independent in the state's lower House among 45 Democrats and five remaining Republicans, according to Reuters.