January 16, 2018 News & Press Releases

“Could No Longer Stomach It”: VA GOP Leader Quits Party Over Trump

by DPVA Press Office

"Could no longer stomach it": VA GOP Leader Abruptly Resigns over Trump's Oval Office Slurs

DPVA Chairwoman Calls on RPV's Whitbeck to denounce President for racist rant

Richmond, VA - DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker praised VA GOP Central Committeeman Kyle McDaniel's decision to leave the Republican Party in protest of President Trump recently referring to Latin American and African nations as "shithole" countries.

"Today, at last, someone in the Republican Party of Virginia found the courage to stand up to our racist President. While Central Committeeman McDaniel's decision to take a stand against hate and leave the GOP is commendable, RPV Chairman John Whitbeck's refusal to condemn the President for his damaging slurs shows more and more that the cowardly leadership of the Republican Party exists merely to follow the marching orders of Bigot-in-Chief Donald Trump."

Chairwoman Swecker further called on RPV Chairman John Whitbeck to find a moral compass and denounce the President for his comments.

"Chairman Whitbeck should immediately come forward and denounce the President for demeaning and disparaging millions of people around the world. If he can not or chooses not to do so, he should expect many more members of his party to follow Mr. McDaniel out the door."

Read full Washington Post story on GOP resignation here and below:

Washington Post: Young Virginia GOP leader quits party over Trump’s tweets

By Antonio Olivo

A member of a group of millennial Virginia Republican leaders being groomed as eventual candidates quit the party Tuesday, citing President Trump’s “appalling comments” about Haitian immigrants and a nativist streak in the state.

Kyle McDaniel, 28, served on the party’s state central committee for two years and has worked as a top aide for Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), where he made the connections needed for what most of his friends figured would be an eventual run for office in Northern Virginia.

But he’s also harbored increasing reservations over where the party has been heading. On Tuesday, McDaniel sent a letter of resignation to state party chairman John Whitbeck that described events he “could no longer stomach,” including Trump’s reference to Haiti as a “shithole” country and the defense by some party leaders of a rally by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in the summer that led to the death of a 32-year-old woman.

McDaniel — lamenting the loss of compassionate conservatism in the party and calling himself an independent — also cited an unsuccessful effort by himself and other younger Republicans to either remove or formally censure a member of the state party’s 11th congressional district committee in Northern Virginia, who, among other things, called Islam “a death cult created by Satan.”

“I have, on more occasions than I care to recall, been forced to ‘bite my tongue’ when in conversation with other party leaders about the issues of the day,” wrote McDaniel, who has gone to Haiti as a relief worker with his church and said he and his wife, Katie, have considered adopting a Haitian child. “I cannot in good faith continue to do that.”

While McDaniel is not a marquee name in the state party’s leadership, the news of his departure nonetheless touched a nerve among some officials in Virginia who worry that Trump is causing deep fissures in the party, especially among younger Republicans.

In Northern Virginia in particular, anti-Trump sentiments run high, helping to fuel a wave of Democratic victories in November that leveled the balance of power inside the General Assembly.

“We can’t even count or imagine how many people would be part of our ranks who just take a look at what’s going on and say ‘No thanks’,’” said Stephen Spiker, 32, another member of the 11th congressional district committee. “For the younger demographic, it’s a bridge they can’t cross.”

John Whitbeck, chairman of the state party, said McDaniel is wrong in arguing that the party is lurching too far to the right.

“He knows full well that the Republican Party of Virginia, and I as chairman, have worked tirelessly to expand the Party into new communities,” Whitbeck said in a statement. “We wish Mr. McDaniel the best in his future endeavors but he owes every member of his party an apology for repeating the Democrat talking points that Republicans are a bunch of racists.”

Herrity called McDaniel’s decision the loss of a promising leader, but predicted he will someday return to the Republican fold.

“I still think he will run for office one day,” he said. “I would hazard to predict he’ll do it as a Republican.” In an interview, McDaniel, who works as a real estate agent in Alexandria, said he isn’t likely to return.

“I’m totally out,” he said. “I’ll support candidates I agree with, but as far as any party affiliation, I’m out. I’m independent.”