Here Are 4 Prominent Right-Wingers Who Have Officially Left the Republican Party Because of President Trump

Nicolle Wallace, former White House communications director under President George W. Bush and now one of the right-wing voices at the Democratic-leaning MSNBC, has not only been vehemently critical of President Donald Trump—she has also voiced her displeasure with the Republican Party establishment for obediently rallying around the president, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (who she described as “the incredible shrinking man” and someone whose “spine has been removed”). And there are other right-wingers as well who have been consistently critical of Trump, from journalist SE Cupp to GOP strategist Rick Wilson to Weekly Standard Publisher Bill Kristol. Although Cupp, Wilson and Kristol have all made it clear how much they dislike Trump’s presidency, none of them have defected to the Libertarian Party or the Constitution Party—seemingly, they would rather fight to save the GOP from Trumpism than abandon it. But other long-time conservatives have expressed their disdain for Trump by leaving the Republican Party. 

Here are four prominent right-wing voices who have officially left the GOP in response to Trump’s toxic effect on it.

1. George F. Will 

For many years, George W. Will and the late William F. Buckley reigned supreme as the leading go-to pundits when the mainstream media wanted a right-wing perspective. The 77-year-old Will was a major champion of Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s and continued to debate liberals and progressives tirelessly long after that. But in June 2016, the unthinkable happened: Will announced that he had left the GOP and registered as an independent. At that point, Trump was his party’s presumptive nominee—and Will asserted that after Speaker Ryan endorsed Trump despite his racist attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, he felt that the GOP was “not my party anymore.”

2. Max Boot 

Right-wing journalist Max Boot has asserted that being an immigrant himself, he takes Trump’s demonization of immigrants personally: Boot was born in Moscow in 1969, and his parents fled the Soviet Union. Although Boot was a Republican for many years, he left the GOP because, among other things, he believes that Trumpism has made it “a white nationalist party with a conservative fringe.” And Boot is hoping that Democrats will retake both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in November because as he sees it, “A vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.” 

3. Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt, who served as a senior strategist for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, was a registered Republican for 29 years. But the 47-year-old Schmidt became so fed up with Trumpism that on June 19, he announced, via Twitter, that he was officially leaving the GOP and registering as an independent. Disgusted because establishment Republicans who were willing to stand up to Trump were few and far between, Schmidt denounced the Republican leadership as “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.”

4. Joe Scarborough

Before he became part of the right-wing minority at MSNBC, Joe Scarborough was a congressman who represented North Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. Scarborough has butted heads with liberals many times on MSNBC, but he has been a persistent critic of Trump—often calling him out for his racism, misogyny and xenophobia. And in 2017, the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” asserted that because Trump had soiled the GOP brand so badly, he felt he had no choice but to leave the party and register as an independent.

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