Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk says he "cannot and will not" support Donald Trump for president in November, making him the first congressional lawmaker to withdraw an endorsement for the party's presumptive nominee.
"While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump's latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party's nominee for president regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party," Kirk said in a statement Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported. The senator was referring to Trump's comment in which he called a federal judge a "Mexican," even though the judge is an American who was born in Indiana to Mexican-immigrant parents.
Kirk previously said he "certainly would" support Trump if he won the GOP nomination, but after Trump's most recent comment on the judge, Kirk's Democratic rival, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, used the endorsement to say that Kirk was being "complicit" in what she called a campaign of "hate and division."
"As the presidential campaign progressed, I was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and reflect a campaign that was inclusive, thoughtful and principled," Kirk said Tuesday. But, the Illinois Republican added, "After much consideration, I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world."
As NBC News pointed out, Kirk is the first Republican holding a national office to take back his endorsement of Trump. Other current and former party leaders who have already endorsed Trump recently denounced the presumptive nominee's latest comments, calling them "racist" and "inexcusable."
(H/T: Chicago Tribune)
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