Republicans recall the moment that they went from maybe Trump to #NeverTrump
To say Donald Trump has been a controversial Republican candidate is an understatement. Many prominent members of his own party have consistently refused to support his candidacy, while others reluctantly lent lip-service support once he was clearly going to be the man on the ticket.
Still, GOP stalwarts have struggled with Trumps loose-cannon approach to the limelight. On Monday, Trump appealed to congressional Republicans for support after his insults against Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan, Gold Star parents who spoke about their sons death at the DNC provoked widespread condemnation. According to Reuters, nobody stepped forward to help him. That moment, for a host of Republican politicians, was their anti-Trump tipping point.
But what about Republican party loyalists outside of elected office? There has been a #NeverTrump movement for as long as hes been a candidate. But as his offenses pile up that penchant for fomenting Islamophobia; the tendency to insult women, Mexicans, immigrants and pretty much everyone else more voters formerly on the fence are banding against him. After the RNC, polls showed a record low percentage of Republicans supporting their own candidate for office.
Here, in their own words, are disaffected party members explaining what tipped them into the realization that they would never be able to vote for Trump.
Atiba Madyun: I believed for a while that he was doing what was necessary to win the nomination
I am American, black, Republican and Muslim a descendant of slaves and slave masters who finds Donald Trumps comments insulting to the fabric of our nation. Every word that comes out of his mouth is a reminder that this man is unfit to be president of the United States.
I dont recall the exact moment I decided not to vote for him. I believed for a while that he was doing what was necessary to win the Republican nomination. It bothered me that he was taking this route disrespecting everyone from Muslims, to Mexicans, to Megyn Kelly but he beat 18 candidates, so he clearly tapped into something.
I kept trying to be open-minded, believing that he would change course after the convention the truth is that, during the primary season, Ted Cruz and his campaign rallies ruffled my feathers more than Trump did.
Cruz events were packed with evangelicals fueled by the hatred in the candidates stump speech: the constitution in one sentence, God and the Bible in the next. He blamed Islam for terrorism and called Obama the worst president in history, which sounds to me like race-baiting and Muslim hating!
But Trump is no better. And its hard not feel that both men were indirectly attacking me, too.
How can any of us vote for a candidate that uses Make America Great Again as code for Make America White Again?
Jimmy Camp: Donald Trump does not uphold any of the values I worked for
When Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president, I left the party.
I say this having worked for over 30 years for Republican candidates, issues and causes. I worked to make my party the party of opportunity, of freedom and of individual liberty and responsibility. I worked within my party to make it one not of tolerance but one of inclusion regardless of race, gender, religion, sexuality or nation of origin.
Yet as proud as I am of the work Ive done, I am equally aghast at the recent actions of the Republican party. Donald Trump does not uphold any of the values I worked for. He is a narcissistic, self-centered, unprincipled, miserable example of a human being.
Many people say his appeal is that he says exactly what he thinks. That he is unscripted, unfiltered, etc. Yet what comes out of this mans mouth when he says what he thinks is precisely the problem, even if he recants it after. Torture innocent family members of terrorists; punish women for having abortions; call all Mexicans thieves and rapists: these are Donald Trumps unscripted and unfiltered instincts. I could cite dozens of others equally as disturbing.
He changes positions weekly. He has put forth vague platitudes of policy that shift with the wind.
Ive had many proud moments with this party. One of my proudest and most satisfying moments was turning down the Trump for President campaign when offered a position.
Kyle Foley: To degrade and slander human beings in search of a better life in the process crosses every line
I knew I could never support Donald Trump the day he announced when he implied that Mexican immigrants were rapists and drug dealers.
As someone who was born and raised in Florida, many of my friends growing up were immigrants. Some immigrated here illegally, and many of them had escaped the same drug dealers Trump was implying that they were.
Even more came in search of a bright future, a future away from a country be it Mexico or another South or Central American country, like Colombia, Venezuela or Honduras that could not or would not take care of them. They saw the American Dream as something they too could obtain, and so they came here.
Yes, many of them broke the law in doing so, but that does not make them murderers or rapists, as Trump implied. It makes them people. Wanting to secure the border is a good thing, but to degrade and slander human beings in search of a better life in the process crosses every line imaginable.
Katrina Jorgensen: I truly believed there was no way people would vote for the kind of person we teach our children to avoid becoming
I knew from the very first moment Trump threw his hat in the ring for the Republican primary that I could never support him. His first speech was appalling. And every moment after that, I hoped he would drop out of the race.
It began with his outrageous Mexicans are rapists comment, and he only continued to offend me with his statements about John McCain, women and religious tests for immigrants. He displayed an utter contempt for the norms of US foreign policy. Additionally, he showed zero understanding of basic conservative policies that make up the foundation of the Republican party I support. I truly believed there was no way people would vote for the kind of person we teach our children to avoid becoming.
Once Trump won Indiana, I accepted the inevitable he was going to be the GOP nominee. I knew that I couldnt be a part of that.
So I publicly submitted my resignation as the communications chair of the Young Republican National Federation. In my letter, I made clear that I could in no way act as a voice for our presidential candidate that my conscience would not allow me to do so. I continue to be a part of the Republican party and work with down ballot candidates, but there is no way Trump could win my vote or my voice.
Jay Caruso: There is no chance I will vote for him
When Donald Trump officially entered the race to secure the GOP nomination for president, I hoped his campaign would fizzle out quickly. I had not been a fan of the birtherism grandstanding he brought to the 2012 campaign and wrote in 2014 why I thought the GOP and conservatives should tell Donald Trump to get lost. There was no tipping point for me in this election cycle.
Trump has and always will be an opportunist. He has no core beliefs. He only concerns himself with what benefits him. He doesnt see being president as a great moment of public service; he only sees the office of the presidency as a bragging right.
Dismissing John McCains service to the country, mocking a disabled reporter or making fun of Carly Fiorinas looks shows how petty he is as a person. But it is Trumps frightening ignorance of foreign policy, national security and trade that most concerns me.
His complete lack of knowledge in these areas is readily apparent when he gives an interview. He doesnt know what hes talking about, and its obvious he makes things up as he goes along. In Donald Trump, primary voters have chosen a man who is most likely the least prepared person ever to seek the office of the presidency. There is no chance I will vote for him.
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