- A slew of prominent Republicans are lashing out at the president and condemning their own party over the administration’s decision to forcibly separate migrant families.
- They’re arguing that the “zero tolerance” immigration policy amounts to “child abuse” and is a turning point for the GOP.
- “Some in my party are doing and supporting things I never thought possible,” Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox wrote.
Several prominent Republicans are lashing out at the president and condemning their own party over the administration’s decision to forcibly separate migrant children, including babies, from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
The administration’s new “zero tolerance” immigration policy has provoked widespread outrage, and some Republican critics of President Donald Trump are warning that the party as a whole is on the brink of fundamental change.
“Can’t sleep tonight. I know I shouldn’t tweet. But I’m angry. And sad. I hate what we’ve become,” Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted on Tuesday night. “My wife wants to go & hold babies & read to lonely/scared/sad kids. I want to punch someone.”
Cox argued that the GOP and politics more broadly are broken.
“Some in my party are doing and supporting things I never thought possible,” Cox wrote.
Geraldo Rivera, a veteran Fox News commentator and Trump supporter, argued on Fox host Sean Hannity’s Tuesday night show that the GOP is being transformed from the “party of faith and family” to “the party of child abuse.”
“History will judge us,” Rivera said. “We must take a stand on something – here is where we draw the line.”
Steve Schmidt, a longtime GOP strategist and Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign manager, said he quit the Republican Party on Tuesday evening, and pledged to vote for Democrats in order to protect “democracy and decency.”
“Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump,” Schmidt wrote in a series of tweets. “It is corrupt, indecent and immoral … filled with feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.”
Long critical of Trump and GOP leadership, Schmidt said the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy was the final straw.
“This child separation policy is connected to the worst abuses of humanity in our history,” he continued. “It is connected by the same evil that separated families during slavery and dislocated tribes and broke up Native American families. It is immoral and must be repudiated. Our country is in trouble.”
Schmidt told Business Insider earlier this year that the Republican Party’s hardline approach to immigration may very well become it’s death knell, pointing to the California GOP’s decline in the wake of its anti-immigrant policies in the 1990s. Schmidt argued the state party “obliterated itself” with Gov. Pete Wilson’s racialized and deeply anti-immigrant 1994 reelection campaign.
“The TV ads were Mexicans running across the border with an ominous voice of God saying in the ad, ‘They’re coming, they’re coming, they keep coming,”’ Schmidt recalled. “People went nuts – it destroyed the Republican Party.”
And in a very rare statement, former First Lady Laura Bush wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post earlier this week in which she called the immigration policy “cruel” and “immoral” and blamed the administration for the suffering.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.