Rep. Paul Mitchell, a second-term congressman representing Michigan's 10th congressional district, quit the Republican Party on Monday, citing President Donald Trump's reaction to the Nov. 3 election.
In a letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Mitchell said Trump's failure to accept his loss to Democrat Joe Biden is hurting both the GOP and the nation.
"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," Mitchell said. "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."
Mitchell pointed to his own voting record, which he said aligned more than 95% with Trump, and said he has been a significant fundraiser for the GOP, including contributing his own money. He said he will continue to do so for "individual candidates who reflect the principles I hold dear."
Addressing McDaniel, also a Michigan native, Mitchell pushed back against Trump's claims the president lost Michigan because of irregularities in Wayne County, "but rather he lost because of dwindling support in areas including Kent and Oakland County, both previous Republican strongholds."
Mitchell said he believes individual cases of fraud and mistakes likely occurred during the election and he supports Trump's right to pursue them, but his legal team did not present evidence of enough cases to overturn Biden's victory.
Mitchell will serve officially as an independent for the remainder of his term, though he admitted the designation is "symbolic."
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