L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner, the wealthiest supporter of the GOP in Ohio, officially quit the Republican Party on Thursday, saying that he will longer put up with the “nonsense” inside it anymore, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“I just decided I’m no longer a Republican,” Wexner told the audience of a panel discussion at a leadership summit he participated in. “I’m an independent. I won’t support this nonsense in the Republican Party. I’ve been a Republican since college, joined the Young Republican Club at Ohio State.”
The fashion retail tycoon, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $5.9 billion, said that he hasn’t made any public declarations in the newspaper about quitting the party but that he’s instead been writing notes to friends who are lawmakers and telling them about his decision.
The surprise announcement came just a day after former President Obama tore into GOP lawmakers during a rally in Ohio for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray.
“What you’re seeing is Republicans in Congress who are bending over backwards to try to shield and deflect oversight of this behavior and accountability and consequences,” Obama said.
“This is serious,” he added, “You know it is. And frankly even some of the Republicans know it is. They will say it, they just don’t do anything about it. … [They say,] ‘we’ll put up with crazy’ in exchange for tax reform and deregulation.”
“I was struck by the genuineness of the man; his candor, humility and empathy for others,” Wexner said of Obama, according to the Dispatch.
He also said that Obama’s visit to Ohio this week a “great moment for the community.”
The CEO recalled a moment last year when he told employees that he felt “dirty” and “ashamed” with President Trump’s botched response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence and led to the death of a 32-year-old woman.
“I have to do something because the leader of our country is behaving poorly,” Wexner said, recalling his reaction to Charlottesville last year.