GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell (MI), who voted for President Donald Trump, announced during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that he is leaving the Republican Party and becoming an Independent.
Mitchell told CNN on Monday that his disgust and disappointment with Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the election have led him to request that the Clerk of the House change his party affiliation to “independent,” and to notify GOP leaders in a letter that he is withdrawing his “engagement and association with the Republican Party at both the national and state level.”
“This party has to stand up for democracy first, for our Constitution first, and not political considerations,” Mitchell said on CNN’s “The Lead.”
“Not to protect a candidate. Not simply for raw political power, and that’s what I feel is going on and I’ve had enough,” said Mitchell, who is retiring at the end of this session of Congress.
He says he fears that the House GOP leadership’s participation in Trump’s deranged conspiracy theories and attempts to disenfranchise millions of American voters to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory could cause “long-term harm to our democracy.”
Watch GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell, who voted for Trump, announce he is leaving the Republican Party and becoming an Independent:pic.twitter.com/Ym6rvaA71a
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It is “unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote,” Mitchell wrote in his letter, which was sent Monday.
Mitchell noted Republican leaders have been “collectively sit(ting) back and tolerat(ing) unfounded conspiracy theories and ‘stop the steal’ rallies without speaking out for our electoral process,” and the last straw for him seemed to be “the leadership of the Republican Party and our Republican Conference in the House actively participating in at least some of those efforts.”
“Anybody that gets in politics has to be willing to accept winning and losing with some level of grace or maturity. I’ve done both. Losing is brutal, it’s personal, it hurts, but if you’re not willing to accept that, you should not be in political leadership,” he told CNN.
“This country needs it desperately and, unfortunately, we haven’t seen it demonstrated as much as we should.”