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Iowa's longest-serving Republican lawmaker leaves the party over President Trump


State Rep. Andy McKean is now a Democrat

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Iowa's longest-serving Republican legislator has left the party, saying he cannot stomach its support of President Donald Trump.

What are the details?

State Rep. Andy McKean — who has been a Republican officeholder for 35 years — announced Tuesday that after nearly a half century as a registered Republican, he can no longer carry its banner because of America's current commander in chief.

"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. Unfortunately, that is something I am unable to do," McKean said during a news conference in Des Moines.

"I believe that it is just a matter of time before our party pays a heavy price for President Trump's reckless spending, and short-sighted financial policies, his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy, and his disregard for environmental concerns," he explained.

McKean also expressed his disdain for the president's behavior, saying, "He 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 are attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth, and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity, or disability.

"I believe that his actions have coarsened political discourse, have resulted in unprecedented divisiveness, and have created an atmosphere that is a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions," the lawmaker continued. "Some would excuse this behavior as 'telling it like it is' and the 'new normal.' If this is the new normal, I want no part of it. Unacceptable behavior should be called out for what it is, and Americans of all parties should insist on something far better in the leader of their country and the free world."

After giving his reasoning, McKean said he had made the "very difficult decision" to leave the party and become a Democrat. The lawmaker acknowledged that making the switch would be a disappointment to many Republican friends and colleagues.

"However, the time comes where you have to be true to yourself, and follow the dictates of your conscience, and for me, that time has come," he said.

Anything else?

McKean was first elected in 1978, serving seven consecutive terms in the House, and two in the Senate before taking a 15-year hiatus from the Legislature. He returned to Des Moines in 2016, and said he has found himself concerned with Republican priorities ever since he's been back.

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