Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) is the first Republican member of Congress to announce he’ll vote for Hillary Clinton this November.
The third-term moderate Republican from upstate New York made the announcement in an interview and op-ed published by the Syracuse Post-Standard. Though Hanna said he’d never Trump as far back as March, he’s gone a step further in wake of Trump’s attacks on the family of a fallen Muslim U.S. Army Captain.
Hanna’s op-ed, entitled “We should all be done with Donald Trump,” explained his choice mostly in the context of how much he dislikes the Republican nominee.
Regarding the reasons he was resolved not to support Trump in the first place, Hanna wrote that they “were simple and personal. I found him profoundly offensive and narcissistic but as much as anything, a world-class panderer, anything but a leader.”
“I never expect to agree with whoever is president, but at a minimum the president needs to consistently display those qualities I have preached to my two children: kindness, honesty, dignity, compassion and respect,” he continued. “I do not expect perfection, but I do require more than the embodiment of at least a short list of the seven deadly sins.”
“In his latest foray of insults, Mr. Trump has attacked the parents of a slain U.S. soldier. Where do we draw the line?” Hanna wrote. “I thought it would have been when he alleged that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was caught. Or the countless other insults he’s proudly lobbed from behind the Republican presidential podium. For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.”
In the interview with the Post-Standard, Hanna says Trump’s criticizing of Gold Star parents left him “incensed.”
“I was stunned by the callousness of his comments,” he added. “I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?”
Though his comments mostly consist of criticism of Trump, Hanna does praise Clinton for standing “for causes bigger than herself for a lifetime. That matters.”
“Mrs. Clinton has promoted many of the issues I have been committed to over the years including expanding education and supporting women’s health care,” he adds. “While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton. I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing. I trust she can lead.”
Beyond Trump, Hanna, who is retiring at the end of his current term, argues that the Republican Party is having an increasingly difficult time nominating candidates who can win a national election.
“The primary process is so geared toward the party’s political base, which ignores the fact that we have largely alienated women, Hispanics, the LGBT community, young voters and many others in general,” he wrote. “Our response to the public’s anger and the need to rebuild requires complex solutions, experience, knowledge and balance. Not bumper sticker slogans that pander to our disappointment, fear and hate.”
Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released statements criticizing Trump for his attacks on the Khan family, but didn’t go as far as to withdraw their support, let alone say they’ll vote for Clinton. A number of other Republican members of Congress have withheld support from Trump, but none has gone as far as Hanna.