New York Republican Congressman Announces He’s Voting For Clinton

Retiring Republican Congressman Richard Hanna of New York has announced that he will be voting for Hillary Clinton for President:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, a three-term Republican, said Tuesday he will vote for Hillary Clinton for president because Donald Trump is “unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.”

Hanna becomes the first Republican member of Congress to publicly declare he will vote for Clinton in November.

Other GOP members of Congress have refused to endorse Trump, but until now none had promised to vote for his Democratic opponent.

Hanna announced his decision Tuesday morning in an op-ed and interview exclusive to Syracuse.com. The retiring congressman previously said he couldnever support Trump, but he had stopped short of backing Clinton.

Now Hanna’s decision could give political cover in the coming weeks to other like-minded GOP members of Congress who have criticized Trump, but have not said whether they would support Clinton.

Hanna, who represents an eight-county district in Upstate New York, said in an interview that he considered giving his support to Clinton for several months. He decided to take action this week after watching Trump criticize the Muslim American parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq, he said.

Trump clashed with Khizr and Ghazala Khan after they appeared on stage at the Democratic National Convention last week. Trump roughly dismissed the couple’s criticism, and suggested Ghazala Khan was prevented from speaking at the convention because of her Muslim faith.

Hanna said it’s unthinkable that anyone would criticize Gold Star parents.
“I saw that and felt incensed,” Hanna said in an interview. “I was stunned by the callousness of his comments.”

He added, “I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?”

In addition to the fact that he is retiring and therefore likely feels free-er to make decisions like this than he would if he had to worry about the electoral consequences of a decision like this, Hanna is a New York Republican which generally means he’s more moderate than your average Republican. Additionally, this isn’t the first time that Hanna has gone against Republican orthodoxy. Back in October, he accused the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi of being more concerned about attacking Hillary Clinton than investigating what happened in Benghazi in September 2012. He’s also broken with the party on environmental and other issues, In any event, Hanna is the first Capitol Hill Republican to formally give support to any candidate other than Donald Trump, but he may not be the last. As this campaign drags on and Trump continues to dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole, there have been rumors of Members of Congress and the Senate becoming increasingly uneasy about the impact he could have on the party as a whole come November and on their own political futures should they become closely associated with him.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mister Bluster says:

    free-er?

  2. ptfe says:

    “Hanna is a New York Republican which generally means he’s more moderate than your average Republican.”

    Never been upstate, have you?