October 29, 2019

Prominent conservative economist Greg Mankiw isn't a #NeverTrump Republican — or "human scum," as President Trump and his White House refer to the group — because he is "no longer a Republican," Mankiw explained in a blog post Monday. "I just came back from city hall, where I switched my voter registration from Republican to unenrolled (aka independent)." He gave two reasons, and both involved Trump.

"First, the Republican Party has largely become the Party of Trump," said Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard who previously served as chairman of former President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. "Too many Republicans in Congress are willing, in the interest of protecting their jobs, to overlook Trump's misdeeds (just as too many Democrats were for Clinton during his impeachment)."

The other reason is that Mankiw can vote for a "center-left candidate" in Massachusetts' Democratic presidential primary over Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), either of which, he writes, might "tempt those in the center and center-right to hold their noses and vote for Trump's re-election." In any case, Mankiw's severing of partisan bonds isn't necessarily permanent, he adds. "Maybe someday, the party will return to having honorable leaders like Bush, [John] McCain, and [Mitt] Romney. Until then, count me out." Peter Weber

October 25, 2016

On Wednesday, Donald Trump is taking a short break from the campaign trail to cut the ribbon and officially open his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., but the luxury hotel appears to be off to a rocky start, with empty rooms and slashed prices despite its prime location. Residents of Trump Place, a large residential complex on Manhattan's Upper West Side, are in open revolt over Trump's name being emblazoned all over their building, even though most of the complex is now owned and managed by Equity Residential.

The mayor of Vancouver, Canada, has requested a name change for his city's Trump International Hotel, scheduled to open next year. Trump values his brand alone at about $3 billion, but billionaire Richard Branson told CNN on Monday that Trump's "brand has been very badly damaged," and while "he's not going to go hungry," because of "many things he's said, his brand is very, very different today that it was six months ago."

Though it doesn't say so, Trump Hotels appears to agree. Its newest hotels will be called Scion, which Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger called "a name that would be a nod to the Trump family" while "allowing for a clear distinction between our luxury and lifestyle brands." Scion means "descendant of a notable family," Trump Hotels said, not a recently defunct Toyota brand also geared toward millennials.

The residents of Trump Place would probably take it. "It's embarrassing to tell people where you live," Marjorie Jacobs, a Trump Place resident, told The New York Times. "It used to be that we were embarrassed because he was tacky," added Erin Kelly. "Now he's shown himself to be despicable on every level." Equity spokesman Martin McKenna said that his firm has "a contractual obligation on the use of the name," but the doormats, awnings, and doorman uniforms are reportedly being stripped of the word Trump.

Trump press secretary Hope Hicks told The Times that removing Trump's name would be "an inappropriate thing to do," adding, "If the name comes off, the building will lose tremendous value." Travel site Hipmunk reported over the summer that bookings at Trump Hotels dropped 58 percent in the first half of the year, but a Trump spokesperson disputed those numbers, saying Hipmunk's data "is manipulated to appear meaningful, when, in reality, the information is inconsequential and does not provide an accurate representation of our performance." In other words, rigged. Peter Weber

October 21, 2016

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele just can't stomach voting for either major-party presidential candidate. "I was damn near puking during the debates," Steele said Thursday at a dinner in San Francisco in honor of the 40th anniversary of Mother Jones.

Steele, who led the RNC from 2009 to 2011 as the first black GOP chairman, said he won't be casting a ballot for his party's nominee Donald Trump, and he won't vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton either. He cannot support Trump because he has "captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life and gave voice to that," Steele said. He also argued that Trump only represents about 30 percent of the Republican Party.

Steele is the fifth former RNC chief to refuse to support the GOP nominee. Per Politico's tally, former RNC chiefs Marc Racicot, Mel Martinez, Bill Brock, and Ken Mehlman have all said they will not vote for Trump. Becca Stanek

October 8, 2016

The chair of the College Republican National Committee, Alex Smith, formally disavowed her party's nominee in a tweet on Saturday, citing the sexually graphic comments Donald Trump made in 2005 that were released in a recording Friday. "The Party of Lincoln is not a locker room, and there is no place for people who think it is," Smith wrote, adding, "Definitely not with her, but not with him."

Two Senate Republicans, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, also retracted their endorsements of Donald Trump on Saturday over his lewd words. Utah's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert did the same Friday, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) called on Trump to drop out of the race entirely.

Trump has issued an apology but swears he will not drop out. Bonnie Kristian

September 9, 2016

Donald Trump has pushed Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz to make his first-ever political donation. In an article published Friday on Medium, Moskovitz announced that he and his wife Cari Tuna are donating $20 million to Democratic Party organizations to help ensure Trump and the Republican Party's "zero-sum vision" doesn't see a victory in November. "So, for the first time, we are endorsing a candidate and donating," Moskovitz wrote. "We hope these efforts make it a little more likely that Secretary Clinton is able to pursue the agenda she's outlined, and serve as a signal to the Republican Party that by running this kind of campaign — one built on fear and hostility — and supporting this kind of candidate, they compel people to act in response."

The $20 million will go to organizations including the Hillary Victory Fund, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, and For Our Future PAC. "This decision was not easy, particularly because we have reservations about anyone using large amounts of money to influence elections," Moskovitz wrote. "That said, we believe in trying to do as much good as we can, which in this case means using the tools available to us (as they are also available to the opposition)." Becca Stanek

August 8, 2016

Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent and the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, will reportedly announce an independent presidential run Monday, offering #NeverTrump conservatives an alternative cut from their own cloth. Although McMullin doesn't have much of a public presence (at the time of publication, he had just over 2,000 followers on Twitter), he has consistently been an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump. Here's a glimpse at McMullin's #NeverTrump campaign. Jeva Lange







August 4, 2016

Mitt Romney is obviously no fan of Donald Trump, his successor as Republican presidential nominee, and neither is his 2012 chief strategist, Stuart Stevens. Now, with "Trump's campaign in full blown panic/collapse mode," says Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza, it seemed like a good time to check in with Stevens. The GOP strategist had some opinions to share, including his view that the Republican Party needs to have "something close to a total separation" with Trump before November, and "it would be better to make that break now," because Trump is "saying crazy stuff, and it won't get better."

"The whole Trump campaign reminds me of the collapse of Lehman Brothers," Stevens told The Post. "Every day it was hard to imagine it getting worse, but of course it did. And so will Trump. I'd sell now." He also compared Team Trump to a jalopy:

Most cars do fine at 40 or 50 miles an hour. But the test comes when you take it up to 100 mph and run it all day and night. That's when problems emerge and things start to fall off. Conventions and post conventions is when campaigns must start to hit the high speeds necessary to compete in a general election. I don't think Trump or the campaign is any worse or better than a couple of months ago. They were just driving slower. As the speed increases, they can't keep it out of the ditch. [Stuart Stevens, to The Washington Post]

Later, he picked back up the automotive metaphor to discuss problems with the GOP's horrible standing among minorities: "I often hear conversations in the Republican Party that are like being in a car needing to drive 100 miles with only 20 miles of gas left while debating the merits of stopping for gas. The car doesn't care. It will go 20 miles and stop." You can read the entire interview at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

August 2, 2016

On Tuesday, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) became the first Republican member of the House to openly admit he will be voting for Hillary Clinton for president, in a move that prioritizes defeating Donald Trump over party loyalty. "I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?" Hanna told Syracuse.com, adding that the Republican nominee is "unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country."

In a separate op-ed published on the site, Hanna outlined his exact reasons for his decision. "While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton," Hanna wrote. "I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing."

Hanna, notably, will be retiring this year and thus does not face the pressure of a reelection race. However, this is not the first time he has taken a stance different from that of his party: Talking Points Memo reported Hanna "supports same-sex marriage and rejects certain limitations on abortion." Becca Stanek

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