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‘Commit to not criticizing the president’: Hawaii GOP ousts leader for speaking at Women’s March

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Beth Fukumoto (KHON/screen grab)

Republican lawmakers in Hawaii have reportedly booted state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R) out of her position as House Minority Leader because she participated in the Women’s March against President Donald Trump.

Fukumoto told KHON that she was bullied by her colleagues and is now considering switching parties.

“The Republican Party is getting increasingly hostile to different opinions,” she explained. “If you followed what happened at the state convention (in May 2016), I got booed for about 10 minutes straight for raising concerns about President Trump, then nominee Trump, and the way he treated women and minorities in many of his remarks. I, at the time, had said this is not, this should not reflect our party.”

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Fukumoto said she “repeated those sentiments at the Women’s March last week.”

“And since then, there have been many calls for my resignation, and my caucus members have raised concerns about whether or not that means I’m a Republican, whether or not that means I’m fit for leadership, whether or not that means I should even be an elected official.”

In an address on the state House floor, Fukumoto revealed that Republicans had asked her to agree to never criticize Trump again.

“They told me they would keep me in this position if I would commit to not disagreeing with our president for the remainder of his term. Mr. Speaker, I’m being removed because I refused to make that commitment, because I believe it’s our job as Americans and as leaders in this body to criticize power when power is wrong.”

State Rep. Bob McDermott (R) argued that Fukumoto’s first responsibility was to the party.

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“You are speaking not for yourself anymore,” he said. “It is a high-level responsibility.”

Fukumoto sent letters to her constituents this week asking for feedback before making the jump to the Democratic Party.

“When I was re-elected in November, I was elected as a Republican, and I want to honor my community’s choice by consulting them before any decision is made,” she said in a statement. “As I articulated in my letter, I encourage my constituents to contact me with input and provide feedback. I was elected by the people of Mililani, and I am here to represent them.”

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Watch the video below from KHON.


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