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Here are all the prominent Republicans who refuse to endorse Trump
The list is growing.
Prominent Republicans outside Congress have refused to back Trump, most notably the past two Republican presidents—George H.W. Bush (voting for Clinton instead) and George W. Bush (who knows?). The growing #NeverTrump movement includes major Republican donors, Republican governors, and former Bush and Reagan administration officials.
Republicans pulled their endorsements in droves on Oct.8 after both NBC and the Washington Post released audio from a 2005 tape in which Trump made disparaging comments towards women. The audio was recorded in a bus outside the set of Access Hollywood from 2005 in which Trump described his pursuit of a married woman and boasted his ability to do “anything” he wants with women because he’s “a star.”
A total of 27 Republican lawmakers or former lawmakers dropped their endorsements following the Trump tape’s release. This includes four governors, 9 U.S. Senators, and two former governors (Jon Huntsman of Utah, Arnold Schwarzenneger of California).
Here’s a rundown of all the Republicans in office who refuse to back Trump and why:
1) Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
No one should criticize grieving parents who have lost a son in combat. Capt. Khan was an American hero.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) July 31, 2016
Collins penned a Washington Post op-ed on July 8 stating that Trump did not “reflect historical Republican values.” The Maine senator cited Trump’s attacks against a reporter with disabilities, a Hispanic judge, and the parents of Army Capt. Humayan Khan as reasons why she refused to back him.
2) Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Embattled Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said he refused to back Trump way back in May after visiting with Chicago factory workers who raised concerns about Trump’s views on Hispanics, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Kirk is a moderate Republican who traditionally votes with Democrats on contentious legislation, such as immigration reform or gun control. He’s running for re-election in November and is likely to lose his seat to Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
Kirk told CNN that he would likely write in Gen. Colin Powell as his presidential pick come November.
3) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Count Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as someone you won’t find ticking the box next to Trump’s name on Election Day. The former opponent of Trump refused to endorse the presidential nominee in a speech before the Republican National Convention. He urged delegates to “vote your conscience,” was heavily booed, and had to be escorted from the convention arena by security.
4) Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
The Nebraska senator came out against both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a Medium post published on July 11.
Wrote Sasse on Trump and Clinton :
“Our situation today lies somewhere between those two extremes. We don’t have a murderer on our hands, but neither of these people are just low-level speeders, either. Sadly, they both appear to be willfully dishonest.”
5) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham is often called on to make sense of what a Trump missive or misstep means to the GOP establishment. Trump hardly began on good terms with Graham, choosing to read the senator’s cellphone number out loud at a public event. The senator was forced to change numbers and destroy his phone as a result of Trump’s disclosure.
Graham has called for the GOP establishment to un-endorse Trump following comments Trump made about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a Hispanic federal judge, and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke out against Trump at the DNC convention.
“This is going to a place we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen,” said Graham in a statement on the Khan incident.
6) Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Unlike his counterpart John McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has held off on endorsing Trump. Flake appeared on Face the Nation on Aug. 7 and said that high Hispanic turnout in Arizona equals a likely Clinton victory and that Trump would “need to change” in order to win the state.
The junior senator from Arizona also added, “I’m still not ready to support Donald Trump.”
7) Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
I’ve attended CO GOP conventions for years. It requires organization & attn to grassroots to win. Cruz had it. Trump didn’t. End of story.
— Cory Gardner (@CoryGardner) April 12, 2016
Colorado senator Cory Gardner departed the Republican National Convention in Cleveland without endorsing Trump, according to the Denver Post. Colorado’s delegation was one of several states that joined a last-ditch effort to oust Trump as the Republican nominee during the convention. Trump famously called out Colorado after losing the state during the Republican primaries, calling the state’s caucus system “rigged.” Gardner was a big supporter of Cruz, but he said back in March that he’ll endorse whoever becomes the GOP nominee. He still hasn’t come out in support of Trump.
8) Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Mike Lee has been pretty blunt about why he’s not backing Trump. Lee is close with Trump rival Cruz, whose father Trump has accused of being involved in the Kennedy assassination.
Lee told Newsmax, “I mean we can get into the fact that he accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill J.F.K.”
Lee also mentioned that Trump’s comments against Muslims have alienated Mormons, another a religious minority, in his state of Utah.
9) Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)
Upstate New York Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) became the first Republican to announce he would be voting for Clinton. Hanna wrote in an op-ed on Syracruse.com that Trump was “deeply flawless in endless ways” and called him “unfit” to be president. Hanna, who is of Lebanese descent, earlier condemned Trump for his proposal of a ban on Muslim immigration.
“This campaign is beneath the dignity of the American people,” said Hanna in a separate interview with Syracruse.com.
11) Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
12) Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Miami-area congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen confirmed to the Miami Herald back in May that she doesn’t plan on supporting either Trump or Clinton for president.
13) Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) said in August that Trump’s disparaging comments towards various groups, including Mexicans, Muslims, women, and individual Republicans, have become “too much” and he wouldn’t be voting for Trump in the general election.
14) Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
In a recent campaign ad, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said he didn’t care much for Donald Trump and promised to “stand up to him” if Trump became president.
People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?'” Coffman says in the ad, which was released on Aug. 5. “Honestly, I don’t care for him much. I certainly don’t trust Hillary. I’m a Marine. For me, country comes first. My duty is always to you. So if Donald Trump is the president, I’ll stand up to him. Plain and simple. And if Hillary wins, I’ll hold her accountable every step of the way.”
15) Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) is holding back from endorsing Trump. Heller told the Reno-Gazette Journal on Aug. 9 that he was concerned about “several comments” Trump made over the past few weeks.
16) Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
The congresswoman who represents Fort Worth and surrounding areas spoke out against Trump’s lack of respect for veterans, specifically his comments about former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
“I am going to give you my candid reaction to hearing Trump disparage John McCain’s military experience and his support for veterans,” Rep. Granger (R-TX) said in a statement to Roll Call. “I work in the Congress with John McCain and [Rep.] Sam Johnson, who like John McCain was shot down in Vietnam and was a prisoner under hideous conditions, including torture, for years.”
“Donald Trump shouldn’t even be in the same room with these heroes,” Granger said. “He definitely should not be considered to speak for our nation as our president.”
17) Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
Following a comment by Trump that Jeb Bush should stop speaking Spanish, Curbelo tweeted in September 2015, “Is this what modern day fascism looks like?”
18) Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Former Trump opponent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has backed off endorsing Trump. The GOP nominee insulted Kasich during the primaries, poking fun at his tendency to eat on the campaign trail during a rally. “Did you see (John Kasich)? He has the news conference all the time when he’s eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion. This guy takes a pancake and he shoves it in his mouth. It is disgusting. Did you want that for your president? I don’t think so,” Trump said at a Rhode Island rally back in April.
“I just can’t do it,” Kasich said on MSNBC on July 16 on the possibility of a Trump endorsement.
19) Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has refused to back Donald Trump, calling his success “odd” and “disappointing” in a meeting with reporters earlier this year. The Republican governor of a blue state, he likely won’t lose any points for not backing Trump.
“The things he said about women and Muslims and religious freedom, I just can’t support,” Baker said at a press conference in May, according to Boston.com.
20) Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told the Washington Post in June that he doesn’t plan on voting for Trump.
21) Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder refused to endorse Trump before Michigan’s primary back in March 8.
Snyder more recently has signaled that he plans on staying out of the presidential race.
“I’ve stayed out of the whole thing, and I’m going to continue to,” Snyder said in an interview with the Detroit News Editorial Board on June 2. “I’ve got important things I want to work on in Michigan.”
22) Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL)
Illinois Republican Bob Dold refused to back Trump even before he became the GOP nominee for president. Dold told the Chicago Tribune back in March that he didn’t back Trump “now and I will not support him should he move on” to win the nomination.
Dold cited comments Trump made about Sen. McCain’s prisoner of war status.
“My uncle was the second one shot down in the Vietnam War, spent eight years and a day in prison. One of the things we do know is that inevitably somebody is going to get shot down again. To me, it was just unacceptable, ” Dold told Roll Call.
23) Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner refused to attend the RNC convention and backed off giving a formal endorsement of Trump. The Chicago Tribune noted that avoiding the convention as governor meant Rauner avoided the role of heading the Illinois delegation and casting a vote in favor of Trump’s nomination.
Rauner also snubbed Trump during his visit to Chicago in June when they were both at events only a few blocks away from each other, according to Politico.
24) Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.)
Former South Carolina governor and current House Representative Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) is no stranger to scandal or public backlash. Still, Sanford has avoided endorsing Trump. Following Trump’s visit with GOP lawmakers in July, Sanford wondered whether the GOP nominee had a basic understanding of the Constitution.
“I wasn’t particularly impressed,” Sanford told reporters after the visit according to the Week. “It was the normal stream of consciousness that’s long on hyperbole and short on facts. At one point, somebody asked about Article I powers: What will you do to protect them? I think his response was, ‘I want to protect Article I, Article II, Article XII,’ going down the list. There is no Article XII.”
Sanford criticized Trump’s track record of contentious comments in an interview with MSNBC on Aug. 3. “If he would just shut up, quit attacking and responding to everybody who says anything even partially negative towards him, and focus on the economy, and focus on Hillary Clinton, the race would be done. But he’s not doing that,” Sanford said.
25) Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA)
Virginia lawmaker Scott Rigell (R-VA) vowed to never support Trump in an email to his supporters back in March.
“Trump is a bully, unworthy of our nomination,” Mr. Rigell wrote in the email.
“My love of our country eclipse my loyalty to our party, and to live with a clear conscience I will not support a nominee so lacking in the judgment, temperament and character needed to be our commander-in-chief. Accordingly, if left with no alternative, I will not support Trump in the general election should be become our Republican nominee.”
26) Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said in an interview with Reason TV back in March that Trump’s obsession with power and lack of respect for the Constitution could push the nation in “a very dangerous direction.”
27) Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Wisconsin Republican Reid Ribble accused Trump on CNN of being a racist, following comments he made about a federal judge of Mexican heritage.
“His comments over the weekend are authenticating what I believe is the man’s character,” Ribble said on CNN in June. “Something that walks like a duck, talks like a duck, is likely to be a duck. If you continue to say what I believe are racist statements, you’re likely to be a racist.”
Ribble also called Trump out on Twitter for his clothing line, most of which is manufactured overseas.
28) Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
The former New Hampshire state attorney general is running in a vulnerable race for re-election in 2016. She and fellow female Republican senator Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) dropped their endorsements on Saturday after comments he made in 2005 degrading women were made public.
29) Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) became the first Republican senator to drop his endorsement following the release of a Trump tape.
30) Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
The Utah lawmaker told Fox News 13 in an interview that he was out after the Trump tapes.
“I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” said Chaffetz.
31) Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) pulled her endorsement of Trump after the Trump tapes.
It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party’s nominee. (2/2)
— Deb Fischer (@DebFischerNE) October 8, 2016
32) Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told the Associated Press in August that she didn’t know if she will vote for Trump. She then issued a statement saying she will not support Trump for president on Saturday following the Trump tapes release.
I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president. He has forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee.
— Lisa Murkowski (@LisaForSenate) October 8, 2016
33) Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Both the Alaska senators pulled their endorsements of Trump after the Trump tapes.
34) Sen. John Thune (R-ND)
Sen. John Thune (R-ND) became the highest-ranking Republican in the Senate to drop his endorsement of Trump on Saturday following the Trump tapes.
Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) October 8, 2016
35) Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV)
Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV) dropped his endorsement of Trump following the release of the Trump tapes.
36) Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA)
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday.
37) Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) pulled her endorsement of Trump on Saturday following the release of the Trump tape.
38) Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Illinois Republican Rep. Rodney Davis withdrew his endorsement of Trump on Saturday.
39) Sen. Dean Heck (R-NV)
Nevada Republican Dean Heck dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday.
40) Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
After a half-hearted decision in August to endorse Trump after staying silent for months, Senator Cory Garder dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday following the Trump tapes.
41) Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA)
California Republican House member Steve Knight pulled his endorsement on Saturday.
42) Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)
Nevada Senate candidate and Republican house member Rep. Joe Heck) dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday.
44) Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT)
Governor Gary Herbert (R-UT) dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday.
45) South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R-SD)
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard actually refused to vote for Trump during the RNC Convention.
46) Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
Missouri Republican Ann Wagner dropped her Trump endorsement on Saturday.
47) Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday.
Said Stewart to ABC 4 Utah: “I’m incredibly disappointed in our party’s candidate. And unlike the Democrats who have proven completely unwilling to hold secretary Clinton accountable for her illegal activities that endangered our national security, I am willing to hold Mr. Trump accountable. I am therefore calling for him to step aside and to allow Mike Pence to lead our party.”
48) Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)
Alabama lawmaker Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) joined the state’s governor and droppped his endorsement on Saturday.
Byrne told WKRG:
“Donald Trump’s comments regarding women were disgraceful and appalling. There are absolutely no circumstances under which it would ever be appropriate to speak of women in such a way.
It is now clear Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton. I believe he should step aside and allow Governor Pence to lead the Republican ticket.”
49) Rep. Crescent Hardy (R-AL)
Nevada lawmaker Crescent Hardy (R-AL) told Politico on Saturday that he will no longer support Trump.
50) Gov. Robert Bentley (R-AL)
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL) dropped his endorsement on Saturday, according to The Montgomery Advertiser.
51) Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT)
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT) dropped his endorsement of Trump on Saturday according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
52) Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) withdrew his support of Trump on Saturday evening.
From a statement published on McCain’s website:
“Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President.”
53) Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) withdrew his support for Trump on Saturday evening.
From a statement LoBiondo issued on Saturday:
“I cannot support and will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. I will write in Governor Mike Pence for President.
54) Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
According to Politico, at-risk lawmaker Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) has withdrew his endorsement for Trump.
55) Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
According to the Omaha World Herald, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry withdrew his endorsement for Trump on Saturday.
“As Americans we are faced with two strikingly bad choices: Donald Trump, who has abused women, and Hillary Clinton who has enabled the abuse of women. It’s all wrong. For my part, I ask that Donald Trump step aside and allow Mike Pence to become the Republican nominee.”
56) Former Governor George Pataki (R-NY)
57) Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Rep. Charlie Dent announced in August that he was not voting for Trump, admonishing his attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, veterans, family members of soliders, and fellow Republicans.
58) Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Ohio Senator Rob Portman pulled his endorsement of Trump on Saturday evening.
59) Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
Florida Republican Tom Rooney said his young sons were the reason why he withdrew his support for Trump.
Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.