Iowa State Representative Andy McKean announced this week he was leaving the Republican Party because he says he can no longer support President Donald Trump and the views of the GOP.
Rep. McKean revealed he was switching parties during a press conference on Tuesday in which he called the president a “poor example for the nation.”
McKean, who is the longest-serving Republican in Iowa’s state legislature, described himself as a moderate, which he says is increasingly rare in the GOP.
“With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, I feel, as a Republican, that I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party,” McKean said. “Unfortunately, that’s something I’m unable to do.”
“I think the party has veered very sharply to the right,” McKean said. “That concerns me.”
Andy McKean joins the Democratic Party. He’ll re-register as a Democrat later this week back home pic.twitter.com/VXqAkwB0TG
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) April 23, 2019
McKean criticized Trump’s financial policies, his “erratic, destabilizing” foreign policy and his inaction on environmental issues as reasons for his departure. He also highlighted Trump’s offensive rhetoric, calling the president a “bully.”
“Furthermore, [Trump] sets, in my opinion, a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children by personally insulting, often in a crude and juvenile fashion, those who disagree with him, being a bully at a time when we’re attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth, and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity or disability,” the representative said.
#BREAKING Rep. Andy McKean switches from the Republican Party to the Democrats.
— Ben Oldach (@BenOldach) April 23, 2019
McKean said he will register as a Democrat and will vote along Democratic Party lines in the meantime.
Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, called McKean’s party swap a violation of the trust of those who voted him into office.
“When Rep. McKean ran in 2016, he had no problem riding to victory on Pres. Trump’s coattails,” Kaufmann tweeted.
“When he was running for office a mere five months ago, he made a commitment to the voters of District 58, running on the Republican platform,” he said. “Today, he has violated the trust of the voters of his district.”
It’s disappointing that he felt the need to deceive Iowans – if the people of District 58 can’t trust him on something as simple and fundamental as what party he belongs to, how can they trust him on any issue. #ialegis #iagov #iapolitcs
— Jeff Kaufmann (@kaufmannGOP) April 23, 2019