After being a registered Republican for over 40 years and working for two Maine Republican U.S. senators, I am leaving the Republican Party out of disgust and shame and with great sadness.

President Donald Trump speaks Jan. 6 during a rally protesting the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden as president. Trump sought to overturn a free and fair election in order to stay in power. Evan Vucci/Associated Press

I haven’t always agreed with the policies of past Republican presidents and I haven’t always voted for the Republican presidential nominee, but I’ve always stayed a Republican, believing in the basic tenets of what I believe to be fundamental Republican ideals – these include a strong national defense, fiscal conservatism (i.e., a balanced budget), individual liberties and personal responsibility, and federalism. I am a New England Republican. I am a Maine Republican. I am and always will be, for example, strongly pro-choice, like Sen. Barry Goldwater, believing it to be an inherently conservative position – that is, to keep the government out of an individual’s choice about their reproductive health. I believe in capitalism that is socially responsible (e.g., you have the right to make a profit as long as you pay a fair wage, protect your workers’ health and safety and don’t endanger the public).

I love my country and I am proud (and lucky) to be an American, but that doesn’t stop me from acknowledging our sordid past. We too often have failed to live up to the ideals we espouse about freedom and equal opportunity and equal justice under the law, and we will continue to fail to fully live up to them in the foreseeable future. But the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and in our collective vision of who we are and what we stand for are what make this country great and, although it may be trite to say so, a beacon of light to people around the planet. Our greatness lies in our constant struggle to live up to those ideals.

I leave the Republican Party because it has become a sycophant to former President Donald Trump. By continuing to support him, the party, with the exception of a few courageous members, has betrayed every principle of truth, honor, decency and morality that I believe in, and I can no longer be a part of it. I don’t say this because I disagreed with all of the Trump administration’s policies; I didn’t. I don’t say this because Trump was an unconventional president; I like the idea of shaking things up in Washington. I say this because Donald Trump denigrated our democratic institutions, lied to the American people on a scale that is breathtaking in its breadth and depth and betrayed his oath of office. I also believe him to be, among other things, a bully, a narcissist and a pathological liar who is amoral, ignorant of history and devoid of compassion and empathy.

Even if everything I believe about Donald Trump is untrue, one simple reason and one set of indisputable facts should compel the Republican Party to disassociate itself from Donald Trump and should persuade all U.S. senators to vote to convict him during the impeachment trial. Donald Trump sought to undermine and indeed overturn a free and fair election, to essentially stage a coup, in order to stay in power. If that isn’t the complete opposite of everything this country stands for, and a clear betrayal of his oath to uphold the Constitution, I don’t know what is. I cannot and will not remain a member of an organization that is unwilling to disavow such a man, that continues to kowtow to him out of concern for its own political future and that appears to be as unable or unwilling as he is to tell the American people the truth.

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