What I suspect is the beginning of an avalanche…
“For the first time in my life, I cannot support the Republican nominee for president.”
After determining that he cannot support Donald Trump as his party’s presidential nominee, a Republican lawmaker has abandoned the party altogether — a sign of growing discontent within GOP ranks.
Danny Jones, the four-term mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, announced Friday that he changed his party identification to “unaffiliated.”
“For the first time in my life, I cannot support the Republican nominee for president,” Jones told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Jones, who has been a Republican for 45 years, said that in November he will vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson for president.
In leaving the GOP, Jones also cited his opposition to the more conservative members of West Virginia’s state legislature, who have backed so-called religious freedom laws that make it legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals. The West Virginia legislation is part of a wave of similar laws nationwide.
“I’m basically a city guy, and I believe [in] live and let live and stay out of each other’s bedroom,” Jones said.
Jones is not the only GOP lawmaker fleeing his party because of Trump. Earlier this month, Iowa State Sen. David Johnson (R) became the first elected official to leave the GOP because of Trump after the real estate mogul launched racist attacks against a federal judge, sending Republican lawmakers into a tailspin.
“I will not stand silent if the party of Lincoln and the end of slavery buckles under the racial bias of a bigot,” Johnson said.
This week, disunity among Republicans escalated further as Trump’s response to the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, gave party leaders pause. Republicans raced to condemn Trump’s rhetoric, and some who had supported his candidacy tried to distance themselves. Other Republicans still on the fence about backing Trump have raised the possibility of challenging him at the convention in July.