On Tuesday, retiring New York Rep. Richard Hanna became the first Republican member of Congress to say he will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in November instead of Donald Trump.
“He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country,” Hanna wrote in a column published in The Post-Standard newspaper of Syracuse, New York. “He is unrepentant in all things.”
Later Tuesday, Hewlett-Packard executive Meg Whitman – a prominent Republican fundraiser – threw her support behind Clinton, saying, “Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character.”
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Also Tuesday, the woman who helped shape New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s national image declared that she’s voting for Clinton.
“As someone who has worked to further the Republican Party’s principles for the last 15 years, I believe that we are at a moment where silence isn’t an option,” former Christie senior aide Maria Comella told CNN.
They join dozens of high-profile GOP leaders who have previously said they would not vote for Trump, including the party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
A day earlier, Sally Bradshaw, an architect of the Republican National Committee’s 2013 “Growth and Opportunity” report, said she’s leaving the GOP. While not a household name, her decision to leave the party rocked those who make politics their profession.
Bradshaw was one of the five senior Republican strategists tasked with identifying the party’s shortcomings and recommending ways it could win the White House after its losing 2012 presidential campaign. She said she will vote for the Democratic nominee if the race in her home state of Florida appears close come Election Day.
“Trump has moved in exactly the opposite direction from our recommendations on how to make the party more inclusive,” said Ari Fleischer, who worked with Bradshaw on the GOP’s so-called post-election autopsy and was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush.
Fleischer still supports Trump over Clinton. But Bradshaw and Comella are among a group of top Republican operatives, messengers, national committee members and donors who continue to decry Trump’s tactics, highlighting almost daily – with fewer than 100 days before the election – the fissures created by the billionaire and his takeover of the party.
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Veterans and families of fallen soldiers continue to call on Trump to apologize for his treatment of the Khan family, who spoke out against Trump at last week’s Democratic National Convention. Trump said the grieving father had “no right” to criticize him, only later acknowledging their son is a hero.
“If @realDonaldTrump wants to be the Commander in Chief, he needs to act like one. And that can’t start until he apologizes to the Khans,” Dakota Meyer, one of a handful of living Medal of Honor recipients and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s son-in-law, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.