Donald Trump received word on Tuesday of his first defector in the House, as Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) announced he would be voting for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in November.
In an op-ed for the Syracuse Post Standard, Rep. Hanna called his party’s candidate for president a “national embarrassment.”
He went on to say that although he disagrees with Clinton on “many issues,” he would vote for her.
“I trust she can lead,” Rep. Hanna wrote of Clinton. “All Republicans may not like the direction, but they can live to win or lose another day with a real candidate.”
Hanna, who is not running for re-election this year, is following through on a commitment he made during the GOP primary back in March. He stated then that he would not support either Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), if either became the party’s nominee.
“I was the first one in our caucus to say I couldn’t vote for either one of them. I want someone to be president that my children can look up to,” Hanna said at the time.
Although Hanna is the first GOP member of the House to commit against the real estate mogul, anti-Trump fervor has been building in the Senate Republican Caucus.
A number of Republicans in the upper chamber have joined the “Never Trump” movement, including Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). During the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last month, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) refused to endorse Trump, and instead urged people to “vote their conscience,” and referred to candidates “up and down the ticket.”
Trump has, however, maintained the support of GOP leadership on Capitol Hill — though it has been strained.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have routinely condemned Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail, including the nominee’s most recent attacks against the Gold Star Muslim-American Khan family. Neither Ryan nor McConnell, however, have dropped their endorsement of Trump.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) issued a scathing statement earlier this week against Republican leaders who are sticking with The Donald, despite his incendiary rhetoric and reliance on personal attacks.
“Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan approvingly spoke at Donald Trump’s convention, endorsed Donald Trump for president and believe he is mentally fit to sit in the Oval Office,” Reid wrote.
“Occasional statements that do nothing to repudiate Donald Trump’s words and actions are spineless. Anything short of revoking their endorsements is cowardice,” he added.