Sarah Elliott is Chair of Republicans Overseas UK.
As Chair of Republicans Overseas UK for the last four years, I have regularly defended Donald Trump for his conservative agenda, his massive tax cuts and deregulatory efforts to stimulate the economy, being tough on China, his Supreme Court judicial picks, pro-life executive orders, growing the NATO war chest, and his international peace agreements.
Truly impressive for a first-term president, especially when under constant assault by a mainstream media, hellbent to get him out of the White House – even if it meant lying about “Russia collusion,” spying on his campaign, and pushing through a partisan impeachment. His record garnered him 12 million more votes than in 2016 – a total of 74 million in 2020.
However, I can no longer stand in support of his presidency.
The President’s incendiary rally on Wednesday directly resulted in a deadly attack on the US Capitol Building, but then he showed zero leadership in reining in his supporters or bringing peace to the People’s House, so I have no choice but to walk away. It was a direct attack on America’s democracy.
I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 because I thought he was a left-wing New Yorker like Hillary Clinton, and I didn’t like his temperament. My initial instinct was right.
Trump clearly is no conservative and has no loyalty to his conservative legacy. He doesn’t care about the long-term damage he has done to the Republic and the Republican Party by insisting it was a “stolen” election, without proving so in any of his 60 courts cases, directly resulting in the loss of the two Georgia Senate seats. If he was a leader, a democrat and a conservative, he would have acted differently.
The Republican infighting between the President and Georgia GOP, and calling the run-off election “rigged” even before it happened, kept the Republicans home, and the Democrats came out in droves. Had the Republicans come out to vote, they would have won, keeping the Republican majority in the US Senate, creating a bulwark against tax hikes and liberal supreme court judicial nominees, while ensuring his accomplishments remained intact. Now, Trump’s legacy will be quickly unraveled over the next two years.
For Trump, he didn’t care what impact his behavior and rhetoric had on the Georgia election outcome as long as the two Georgia Senators agreed to the narrative that his election was fraudulent. Nor did he care that he incited a mob to storm the US Capitol building because he had gathered a huge crowd to rally around him in his final days in office. These are not actions of a person with the temperament to lead.
Trump has let me down, and millions of other Republicans. And since I only support politicians who further my voting issues while keeping the peace and acting constitutionally, I don’t owe him any further loyalty.
What we shouldn’t forget is that there are still millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised by their elected officials, demonised by the media and “woke” culture, censored by social media companies, burdened by the lockdowns, taxes, and the inability to run their lives with limited government interference. They have legitimate concerns.
But I feel furious with how President Trump, and other aspirational Republican politicians, have played on their disappointment with the election result to stir up their anger, further dividing the country, and resulting in the carnage and anarchy we witnessed on Wednesday evening.
As a card-carrying Republican, I believe in the rule of law, not insurrection or violence. Thanks to our brilliant Founding Fathers, we have institutions that allow us to make those changes to our country without force – look at the civil rights movement, for example.
On the 20th of January, Inauguration Day, I will be watching with my two young daughters, and I will begin to plant the seeds with my three year-old about democracy and the Constitution. The peaceful transfer of power after elections is an incredibly special occurrence, and one which we will no longer take for granted following the mayhem on Wednesday and President Trump’s behavior since November. I haven’t spoken out since the election, as I watched it play out, but now I can no longer remain silent.