'It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation'
Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell announced Monday that he will no longer be affiliated with the Republican Party, saying he fears "long-term harm to our democracy" may come from GOP leadership's endorsement of efforts to overturn the presidential election, including "Stop the Steal" rallies.
His message came the same day the Electoral College voted to confirm Democrat Joe Biden president-elect, amid President Donald Trump's ongoing efforts to fight the outcome.
What are the details?
Mitchell penned a letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), reminding them of his pro-Trump record before explaining his disgust at the party's refusal to defend the electoral process.
"As you well know, my voting record in Congress over the past two terms has been in line with President Trump and the administration's policies more than 95 percent of the time," the congressman wrote. "Further, I voted for President Trump in the 2020 General Election despite some reservations about four more years under his leadership."
The two-term representative voiced his agreement that "there have been some disconcerting aspects" to the Nov. 3 election and that changes must be made to the process, while acknowledging that "any candidate, including the president, is entitled to request recounts and pursue legal challenges they believe are appropriate if they possess evidence of wrongdoing."
Then, Mitchell delved into why he was leaving the party, writing in part:
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. Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that "the Court failed him." It was our Founding Fathers' objective to insulate the Supreme Court from such blatant political motivations.
If Republican leaders collectively sit back and tolerate unfounded conspiracy theories and "stop the steal" rallies without speaking out for our electoral process, which the Department of Homeland Security said was "the most secure in American history," our nation will be damaged. I have spoken out clearly and forcefully in opposition to these messages. However, with the leadership of the Republican Party and our Republican Conference in the House actively participating in at least some of those efforts, I fear long-term harm to our democracy.
Rep. Mitchell informed party leaders that was quitting the GOP at the national and state level, noting that he will still "support, contribute to, and fundraise for individual candidates who reflect the principles [he] hold(s) dear."
who is retiring from Congress and only has weeks left to serve, added, "I am also requesting that the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives change my party affiliation to Independent for the remainder of my term in office. While admittedly symbolic, we all know that symbols matter."
Republican Lisa McClain won the election to replace Mitchell and will be sworn in on Jan. 3.
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