On Thursday morning, a group of 30 former Republican Congress members declared they wouldn't support Donald Trump in an open letter, warning voters that the current GOP presidential candidate does not reflect their values. The collaborative letter was released by Oklahoma Rep. Mickey Edwards and former Missouri Rep. Tom Coleman. While the entirety of it is fairly damning for the Trump campaign, the excerpt below may be one of the most severe critiques:
Given the enormous power of the office, every candidate for president must be judged rigorously in assessing whether he or she has the competence, intelligence, knowledge, understanding, empathy, judgment, and temperament necessary to keep America on a safe and steady course. Donald Trump fails on each of those measures, and he has proven himself manifestly unqualified to be president.
Although the letter declined to offer an explicit endorsement for either Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson, it did reveal that many of the Republican lawmakers were casting votes for one of those two presidential candidates, instead of backing the party's nominee.
Some of the 30 signatories were Republicans who have previously expressed disapproval of Trump, such as former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphry, who according to a report from Politico, requested the Republican National Committee replace Trump back in August.
However, there were some new faces in the anti-endorsement and, perhaps most critically, some were former congressman from prime battleground states, such as Jim Leach of Iowa, Bill Clinger of Pennsylvania, G. William Whitehurst of Virginia. and Tom Petri of Wisconsin. While even Tuesday's vice presidential debate didn't significantly sway undecided voters, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, it's still important to consider the possible repercussions of these signatures on Trump's support in battleground states. Will this letter move the needle for voters on the fence, particularly conservative ones who feelmisrepresented by Trump's message?
The letter itself effectively united all 30 Republican signatories under the mutual agreement that Trump's brand of Conservatism does not reflect the Republic Party they stand for:
In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges. He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country. Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation.
Whether this clearly anti-Trump endorsement encourages undecided voters in swing states to follow the lead of their congressman remains to be seen. No matter what, though, it's clear where over two dozen GOP lawmakers ideologically stand, and that is far, far away from Trump.