Washington (CNN)Former GOP Sen. John Danforth warned Republicans that President Donald Trump has “corrupted” their party and that they must break with him in order to save it.
In an op-ed titled “Trump is exactly what Republicans are not” published by The Washington Post Thursday night, the former Missouri senator issued a stark warning to members of his party.
“To my fellow Republicans: We cannot allow Donald Trump to redefine the Republican Party. … But our party has been corrupted by this hateful man, and it is now in peril,” Danforth wrote.
He emphasized Trump’s divisive rhetoric as a main threat to the Republican message.
Frequently mentioning that the GOP is the party of Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War, the former senator wrote: “He stands in opposition to the founding principle of our party — that of a united country.”
Trump has been heavily criticized both on the campaign trail and since taking office for comments he’s made pertaining to minority groups and women. Most recently he’s announced plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military and has made ostracizing remarks equating white supremacists with counterprotesters following a violent rally in Charlottesville.
“His message is, ‘You are not one of us,’ the opposite of ‘e pluribus unum,'” Danforth wrote of the President’s disruptive rhetoric. “And when he has the opportunity to unite Americans, to inspire us, to call out the most hateful among us, the KKK and the neo-Nazis, he refuses.”
Danforth continued: “He is the most divisive president in our history. There hasn’t been a more divisive person in national politics since George Wallace,” the former pro-segregation Democratic governor of Alabama.
To stop what he sees as permanent damage to the GOP, Danforth urged members of Congress to actively challenge and break with the President.
“For the sake of our party and our nation, we Republicans must disassociate ourselves from Trump by expressing our opposition to his divisive tactics and by clearly and strongly insisting that he does not represent what it means to be a Republican,” Danforth said.
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