Some are voting for Hillary Clinton, others say no way
Part of the effort is organized by Clinton and part are just fed up with Trump
Another day, another bunch of Republicans fleeing Donald Trump.
In what seems like a nearly daily occurrence, Republicans are bolting their party’s nominee. But if not him, who? Some are going so far as to endorse Democratic rival Hillary Clinton; others, like Maine Sen. Susan Collins on Tuesday, are just saying they can’t stomach supporting the GOP nominee.
Regardless, the large number of Republican defections would seem to help Clinton.
In some cases, the defections are clearly organized – and even announced – by the Clinton campaign. Other Republican defectors say they are acting independently of the campaign.
Last week, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois announced he will not back Trump, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “I’m an American before I’m a Republican.”
Kinzinger, however, will not vote for Clinton either. Instead, he may write in a candidate. He joins Mark Kirk, an Illinois senator, who in June withdrew his endorsement of Trump.
On Monday in the Washington Post and Tuesday on CNN, Collins, a moderate GOP senator, said she would not support Trump because he “does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.” She didn’t say whom she’d vote for in November, but told CNN it won’t be Clinton.
She, too, could take a look at the Libertarian ticket of former Republican governors Gary Johnson of New Mexico and William Weld of Massachusetts. Or, she could write in a candidate. Collins said she hasn’t decided, but believes that Clinton’s policies would bankrupt the country.
Also on Monday, 50 prominent Republican foreign policy and national security experts – many veterans of George W. Bush’s administration – signed a letter denouncing Trump’s candidacy and pledging not to vote for him. They include two former Homeland Security secretaries, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, as well as former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden.
One of those who signed the letter said the group had nothing to do with the Clinton campaign.
“I don’t even know if they know about this. I’m doing this on my own volition,” said James Jeffrey, a former US ambassador to Turkey and Iraq.
Other Republicans will swallow their distaste for Clinton and pull the lever for her.
One prominent Republican who is leaning toward Clinton is Jeb Bush’s top adviser, Sally Bradshaw. She told CNN last week she was becoming an independent, and said if the presidential race in Florida is close, she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton.
And Meg Whitman, who ran for California governor, said last week that she would donate to and vote for Clinton, joining an upstate New York Republican representative in supporting the rival candidate.
On Tuesday, two former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency under Republican presidents endorsed Clinton, citing her plan to tackle climate change and Donald Trump’s “profound ignorance of science.” Those defections were announced by the Clinton campaign.
The Clinton and Trump campaigns did not return requests for comment.