Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman wants to see her fellow Republicans finally take action against President Donald Trump.
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Whitman wrote that Trump “isn’t fit to remain in office” in wake of his display in Helsinki last week.
“Trump’s turn toward Russia is indefensible,” she wrote. “I am a lifelong Republican. I have campaigned and won as a member of the party, and I have served more than one Republican president. My Republican colleagues — once rightfully critical of President Obama’s engagement strategy with Russian leader Vladimir Putin — have to end their willful ignorance of the damage Trump is doing both domestically and internationally. We must put aside the GOP label, as hard as that may be, and demonstrate the leadership our country needs by calling on the president to step down.”
She went onto call Trump’s relationship with Putin self-serving, but the statements that came out last week prompted her to urge Republicans to take a deeper look inside themselves.
“His behavior warrants a fresh evaluation of whether the president can be trusted with the future of the United States,” she explained. “His apologists will argue that the current outcry is just another attempt by moderates and ‘establishment’ Republicans to discredit the president. But what does this man have to say or do for his supporters to finally see that his actions are detrimental to the country?”
Whatever Trump said and then walked back is a disaster either way. Whitman explained that if he genuinely misspoke then he has an “inability to articulate accurately U.S. foreign policy at the highest level.” If he didn’t and lied, he obviously can’t be trusted. Still, Whitman notes, “Republicans continue to defend him.”
“Invoking the need to choose country over party is an overused trope. But it is essential now,” she wrote. Congress can act in any manner of ways, instead, they’ve acted just as self-serving as their party’s leader. Whitman wants to see Congress hammer harder sanctions and ensure special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is not threatened or compromised.
“Finally, even if the Russian efforts to undermine state voting systems were unsuccessful in 2016, this is a vulnerability that may be exploited in the future,” she wrote. “With the help of Congress, states must strengthen their processes and security to stop future meddling from Russia or other foreign actors.”
She also called for Trump supporters to put their country ahead of their leader and demand action from their officials. While she’s grateful for the Republicans who have been brave enough to speak out, she demanded that more follow, with something stronger than meek tweets.
“Only bold leadership can put the United States back on a path that values freedom and democracy, and truly puts America first,” she closed.