30 former Republican lawmakers denounce Donald Trump: "Manifestly unqualified to be president"

Former Republican lawmakers harshly denounce the front-runner

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 6, 2016 5:58PM (EDT)

  (AP/Scott Heppell)
(AP/Scott Heppell)

“It is not policy alone that determines one’s fitness for office,” more than two dozen former Republican members of Congress wrote in a newly released letter denouncing their party's presidential nominee Donald Trump. The 30 former GOP lawmakers acknowledged that while their party's new standard bearer has a record of controversial statements that call into question his temperament and ability to lead the nation, his campaign platform still remains in line with the orthodoxy of the modern Republican Party.

Still, the group, which includes the chairman of the House Oversight Committee that investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton in "Travelgate" and influential Republicans in key battleground states, refused to back their party's nominee for president.

"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," they wrote.

According to CNN, the letter was circulated by former congressmen Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma and Tom Coleman of Missouri.

"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," these former members of Congress wrote. "Donald Trump fails on each of those measures, and he has proven himself manifestly unqualified to be president":

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.

"Sadly, our party's nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress." (As The Huffington Post noted, many of the letter's signatories are traditional Republicans whose abandonment of the GOP nominee should not be dismissed as trivial.)

"It is in that spirit that, as Donald Trump's unfitness for public office has become ever more apparent, we urge our fellow Republicans not to vote for this man whose disgraceful candidacy is indefensible," the letter writers declared.

While the letter does not specifically mention Hillary Clinton, some of the more than two dozen Republicans reportedly plan to vote for the Democratic nominee, while others will either write in a candidate or cast a ballot for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Here’s a complete list of the letter’s signatories:

Steve Bartlett, R-Texas

Bob Bauman, R-Md.

Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.

Jack Buechner, R-Mo.

Tom Campbell, R-Calif.

Bill Clinger, R-Pa.

Tom Coleman, R-Mo.

Geoff Davis, R-Ky.

Mickey Edwards, R-Okla.

Harris Fawell, R-Ill.

Ed Foreman, R-Texas, N.M.

Amo Houghton, Jr., R-N.Y.

Gordon Humphrey, R-N.H.

Bob Inglis, R-S.C.

Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.

Steve Kuykendall, R-Calif.

Jim Leach, R-Iowa

Pete McCloskey, R-Calif.

Connie Morella, R-Md.

Mike Parker, R-Miss.

Tom Petri, R-Wis.

John Porter, R-Ill.

Claudine Schneider, R-R.I.

John “Joe” Schwarz, R-Mich.

Chris Shays, R-Conn.

Peter Smith, R-Vt.

Edward Weber, R-Ohio

Vin Weber, R-Minn.

G. William Whitehurst, R-Va.

Dick Zimmer, R-N.J.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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