Republicans at Harvard University are rejecting Donald Trump’s candidacy and will not support him for president.
It’s the first time in 128 years that the Harvard Republican Club, the country’s oldest College Republicans chapter, has disowned its own party’s nominee.
“Donald Trump holds views that are antithetical to our values not only as Republicans, but as Americans,” the group says in a statement posted to Medium. “The rhetoric he espouses –from racist slander to misogynistic taunts– is not consistent with our conservative principles, and his repeated mocking of the disabled and belittling of the sacrifices made by prisoners of war, Gold Star families, and Purple Heart recipients is not only bad politics, but absurdly cruel.”
Besides bashing Trump’s rhetoric, the statement also bashes Trump for his “isolationist” foreign policy, and declares him an outright threat to the future of American democracy.
“His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy,” it says. “[Ronald Reagan] would be ashamed of Donald Trump. We are too.”
The statement says that instead of campaigning for Trump, the group will focus on supporting the party’s House and Senate candidates, with the aim of preserving a Republican Congress to “protect against executive overreach regardless of who wins the election.”
The message concludes with a flourish, misquoting 19th century French writer Alexis de Tocqueville.
“Tocqueville once said, ‘America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great,'” it says. “Donald Trump may not believe in that America, but we do. And that America will never cease to be great.”
Notably, that is actually a fake Tocqueville quote, a fact seized upon by Kirk Jing, president of Harvard Law School’s Republican group. Jing released a statement of his own ridiculing the Republican Club for jumping ship.
“The Harvard Republican Club speaks for itself, as does their statement,” said president Kirk Jing. “It fittingly concludes with a fake quote from Tocqueville, misrepresenting both him and Trump to contort reality into fitting ideological clichés. Fortunately, actual Republican voters concluded that elites do not have a right to rule simply because they can recite tired political clichés in lieu of everyday reality.”
According to The Harvard Crimson, the Republican Club polled its own members and found only 10 percent of them were willing to vote for Trump while 80 percent were opposed, which prompted the decision to officially stand against him. They’ll be in plentiful company; a recent non-scientific poll of Harvard students suggested just four percent were willing to vote for Trump while 87 percent planned to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
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