Dozens of Never-Trump Republicans from former President George W. Bush’s administration are leaving the Republican party to the Trump supporting members.
The officials had hoped that a Trump defeat would lead Republicans to abandon the former president and denounce his questioning of the 2020 November election.
But most Republicans refused to desert Trump, who received the 2nd highest number of votes ever, after Joe Biden. The Bush era officials say they no longer recognize the party they served. Some ended their membership, others are letting it lapse while a few changed their registrations to independents, according to a dozen former Bush officials who spoke with Reuters.
“The Republican Party as I knew it no longer exists. I’d call it the cult of Trump,” said Jimmy Gurulé, who was Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Bush administration.
Kristopher Purcell, who worked in the Bush White House’s communications office for six years, said roughly 60 to 70 former Bush officials have decided to leave the party or are cutting ties with it, from conversations he has been having. “The number is growing every day,” Purcell said.
The party is currently caught between a number of disaffected “never-Trump” Republicans and Independents, most who opposed the political outsider from the start, and Trump’s ever growing loyal base. Republican officials and strategists believe the support of both groups will be necessary to win national elections.
More than half of the Republicans in Congress – eight senators and 139 House representatives – voted to block certification of the 2020 election until an investigation could be undertaken.
Most Republican Senators have also indicated they would not support the impeachment of Trump, making it almost certain that the former president won’t be convicted in his Senate trial. Trump was impeached on Jan. 13 by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on charges of “incitement of insurrection,” the only president to be impeached twice.
The unwillingness by party leaders to abandon Trump was the final straw for some former Bush officials.
“If it continues to be the party of Trump, many of us are not going back,” Rosario Marin, a former Treasurer of the U.S. under Bush, told Reuters. “Unless the Senate convicts him, and rids themselves of the Trump cancer, many of us will not be going back to vote for Republican leaders.”
One former Bush official who spoke to Reuters admitted to voting for Biden rather than support the political outsider.
Suzy DeFrancis, a veteran of the Republican Party who served in administrations including those of former presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, said she voted for Biden in November but that breaking the party apart now will only benefit Democrats.
“I totally understand why people are frustrated and want to leave the party. I’ve had that feeling for 4 years,” DeFrancis said.
But she said it’s critical the party unite around Republican principles such as limited government, personal responsibility, free enterprise and a strong national defense.
Some liberals immediately welcomed her turning her back on Trump, other’s demanded contrition before accepting her.
Just know that you have a TON of contrition to go through before you get a seat at *our* table. After all, you created the GOP which created Trump. So you get to own this now and forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever..
— …and one! (@AviMavet) July 14, 2020
DeFrancis’ and other “never-Trumpers” abandonment of the party comes as good news for Trump supporters who prefer to revitalize the long established Republican Party rather than start a new, unfamiliar one. But either way, Trump has proven to have a very large, diverse voter base and he brought many new and enthusiastic voters to this style of ‘America First’ and ‘Make America Great’ Republicanism.