Christie Whitman
June 23, 2020

To my fellow Republicans,

Yes, I still call myself a Republican, but not as defined by the president or the Republican leadership in Congress. No, I come from the party of Eisenhower, when we were proud to trace our heritage to Abraham Lincoln. A party with principles for which we fought, quaint things like respect for every individual and for the rule of law. A party that believed in an engaged foreign policy, security at home, and respect for our shared environment. A party that believed in the greater good.

Not everyone in the party agreed on how to interpret these simple principles, but all agreed that they were worth honoring, and we worked together to develop policy around them. Where has that all gone? Has keeping the perceived power and status of public office become more important than doing what is right and standing by our principles?

We have a president who sees the law as a mere inconvenience, one who is determined to drive a wedge between people based on their race, religion, or country of origin. He is a president with no coherent policies on how to deal with the rest of the world, a narcissist who sees every issue in terms of his own popularity, a person for whom the Constitution has little meaning, someone with little or no empathy for those suffering today.

Yet Republicans in office today seem willing to ignore all the various ways Donald Trump is taking the country down a rabbit hole of his own making, and a cabinet whose members seem to have left their principles at the door. Someone has to stand up, the public yearns for it. Those of us who aren’t Democrats but can’t be at home in this version of the Republican Party hope for it. People suffering from Covid-19 or the racism that we are finally confronting call for it. But there is no response from Washington.

November will give our citizens an ability to change our leadership, but much damage can be done between now and then. Please, Republicans, stand up to this man and his administration. Call him out when he ignores constitutional boundaries. Stop his divisiveness when he labels people peacefully demonstrating as “hoodlums.” Let your constituents know you represent all of them and not just a single party.

That is who Republicans used to be. It will be a long road back from the damage Donald Trump has done to our brand, but the healing can start today.