In an examination of the record-breaking number of Republican lawmakers who have decided to quit or retire despite holding a seat in solidly conservative congressional districts, one lawmaker admitted that he grew weary of having to deal with Donald Trump’s daily Twitter habit and other shenanigans — so he is calling it quits.
As the Washington Post reports, “Since Trump’s inauguration, a Washington Post analysis shows that nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving because of election losses, retirements including former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis).”
Among those lawmakers is Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) a two-term lawmaker who expected a much longer career in Washington, D.C.
According to Mitchell, he saw the writing on the wall as he watched a Trump rally where fans of the president chanted “send her back!,” aimed at one of his Democratic colleagues, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
As Mitchell told the Post, he wrote a note to himself to ask an aide, “How do I even respond to this on TV?”
“But one of the final straws was the unwillingness of people in Trump’s orbit to listen,” the Post reports. “Mitchell implored Vice President Pence, his chief of staff Marc Short and ‘any human being that has any influence in the White House’ to arrange a one-on-one conversation between him and the president so he could express his concerns. It never happened.”
Ten days later, Mitchell announced his retirement, explaining to the Post, “We’re here for a purpose — and it’s not this petty, childish bullshit.”
As for Trump’s tweets, Mitchell said they kept him from doing the job voters sent him to Congress for.
“Did any member of this conference expect that their job would start out every morning trying to go through the list of what’s happening in tweets of the day?” Mitchell suggested when it came to Trump’s Twitter habit. “We’re not moving forward right now. We are simply thrashing around.”
Mitchell is not alone in his opinion of the president words and deeds the Post reports.
“The retirement numbers are particularly staggering. All told, 41 House Republicans have left national politics or announced they won’t seek reelection in the nearly three years since Trump took office. That dwarfs the 25 Democrats who retired in the first four years of former president Barack Obama’s tenure — and Republicans privately predict this is only the beginning,” the report states. “Most of the departing Republicans publicly cite family as the reason for leaving. But behind the scenes Republicans say the trend highlights a greater pessimism about the direction of the party under Trump — and their ability to win back the House next year. ”
According to former GOP lawmaker Ryan Costello (PA) who bowed out in 2018, Trump has become a major drag upon Republicans in more moderate districts.
“He has not been a net positive for suburban House Republicans, I mean, that’s a truism,” Costello confessed. “Down ballot, for the Republicans, you are basically judged by whatever the president does, and not by what you do.”
A Republican leadership aide, who asked to remain anonymous, said the GOP has a real Trump problem.
“Unless we figure out exactly how we’re going to win back suburban voters, we’re going to be in the minority for a while,” he said, before adding, “I think a lot of members are pretty nervous that Trump doesn’t win reelection. And then we’re in the minority and we have a Democrat in the White House. . . . We’re in the wilderness right now, but if you lose the White House, then that is the extreme wilderness.”
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