'I've had enough': Rep. Paul Mitchell leaves the GOP and becomes an Independent, decrying Trump's efforts to overturn the presidential election

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, FileRep. Paul Mitchell.
  • GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell announced on Monday that he is walking away from the Republican Party and becoming an Independent, according to CNN.
  • “As elected members of Congress, we take an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ not to preserve and protect the political interests of any individual, be it the president or anyone else, to the detriment of our cherished nation,” he wrote in a letter declaring his party change.
  • Mitchell, who is retiring after two terms in office, has represented Michigan’s 10th Congressional district since January 2017.
  • “This party has to stand up for democracy first – for our Constitution first – and not political considerations,” he told CNN. “Not to protect a candidate. Not simply for raw political power, and that’s what I feel is going on and I’ve had enough.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Paul Mitchell, a critic of President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his electoral loss to President-elect Joe Biden, announced on Monday that he was leaving the Republican Party and becoming an Independent, according to CNN.

The Michigan Republican, who is retiring after two terms in office, wrote a letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy where he ripped apart the party’s efforts to undermine the integrity of the election by spreading debunked allegations of voter fraud.

“It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote,” he wrote. “Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that ‘the Court failed him.’ It was our Founding Fathers’ objective to insulate the Supreme Court from such blatant political motivations.”

He added: “If Republican leaders collectively sit back and tolerate unfounded conspiracy theories and ‘stop the steal’ rallies without speaking out for our electoral process, which the Department of Homeland Security said was ‘the most secure in American history,’ our nation will be damaged.”

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Mitchell reserved particular ire for elected officials whom he said failed to abide by the Constitution.

“As elected members of Congress, we take an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ not to preserve and protect the political interests of any individual, be it the president or anyone else, to the detriment of our cherished nation. As a result, I am writing to advise you both that I am withdrawing from my engagement and association with the Republican Party at both the national and state level.”

On CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on Monday, Mitchell reiterated that the GOP has been too focused on the pursuit of political interests.

“This party has to stand up for democracy first — for our Constitution first — and not political considerations,” he said. “Not to protect a candidate. Not simply for raw political power, and that’s what I feel is going on and I’ve had enough.”

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Mitchell was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2016, where he has represented the 10th Congressional district, which covers much of the Thumb region, a conservative-leaning area on the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron shorelines. He is a member of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of social conservatives in the House of Representatives.

In July 2019, Mitchell announced that he would not return for reelection to a third term in the House, frustrated by the partisan tenor of Washington, DC.

“My mission has always been to simply address significant challenges this nation faces: trade, health care, immigration, and infrastructure, to name just a few,” he said at the time. “However, it appears to me that rhetoric overwhelms policy, and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city.”

That same month, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan left the Republican Party, becoming an independent and later a Libertarian member of Congress. He was the only non-House Democrat to vote in favour of Trump’s impeachment.

“I understand why he did it,” Rep. Denver Riggleman told Forbes regarding Mitchell’s decision to leave the GOP.

Riggleman, a Virginia Republican who will leave office in January 2021 after losing a party convention to a more conservative challenger, has been highly critical of the party in recent months.

“My guess is there are gonna be more people leaving the Republican Party if we continue down the road of fantasy over reality,” he added.

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