Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan said Monday that he is leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent because Republicans have not stood up to President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.
Mitchell said in an interview with CNN that the breaking point was the amicus brief signed by over 100 Republican House members in support of the unsuccessful Texas-led bid to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win at the Supreme Court. The action made unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud and argued that voting procedures in four battleground states violated their own state laws.
“As I saw that amicus brief, as well as the discussions over the weekend in the national media, it became clear to me that I could no longer be associated with the Republican Party, that leadership does not stand up and say the process, the election, is over,” he said. “It’s over today.”
Mitchell added, “And then I saw the president tweet out that it’s not over until January 20th and somehow he is going to continue to combat this.”
Mitchell sent a letter Monday informing Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., of his decision.
Few Republicans have criticized Trump publicly as has tried to undermine the integrity of the election and overturn the results in several swing states. Trump has also vowed to continue his election fight even after the Electoral College’s meeting to cement Biden’s win.
Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday: “It’s not over. We keep going.”
Mitchell, who did not seek re-election to Congress, said he voted for Trump and supported the administration the vast majority of the time. “But this party has to stand up for democracy first, for our Constitution first, and not political considerations, not to protect a candidate, not simply for raw political power,” he said. “And that is what I feel is going on, and I’ve had enough.”
All 50 states had already certified their election results, ensuring that Biden will be the 46th president. The Electoral College vote Monday made the result official.
All 538 electors met in their states to cast their votes for president based on the election results. According to an NBC News tally, Biden’s election as the 46th president became official in the early evening after California pushed him past the 270 votes he needed for victory with its 55 electoral votes.
Biden marked the occasion with an address to the country Monday night, calling attacks on the election and election officials “simply unconscionable” and Trump’s attempts to overturn the election an “abuse of power.”