Retiring lawmakers warn GOP move to Trump will drive away women, minorities, youth

"We would be foolish to not see that we're heading into trouble."

Republicans on Face the Nation
Four retiring Congressional Republicans on Face the Nation on Sunday. CREDIT: Face the Nation screenshot.

Four Congressional Republicans who are not seeking re-election this November appeared together on Face the Nation on Sunday to discuss the state of the nation. Three of them — Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) — each sharply criticized their own party’s move toward President Donald Trump.

Ros-Lehtinen warned that the GOP’s policies in the Trump era are alienating women and minorities, especially the administration’s “schizophrenic” approach to immigration policy. “When you look at the future of the Republican Party, I think that we would be foolish to not see that we’re heading into trouble,” she observed, noting that women are becoming Democrats and outreach to minorities has been inactive at a time the nation’s demographics are changing.

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Dent noted that “Trump took over the Republican Party” and “a lot of members have adjusted their politics to suit the president.”

“It’s really about loyalty to the man, more than it is about any set of given principals or ideals,” Dent observed.

Flake noted that he agreed with his two former House colleagues and warned that the country continues to get less white, on average. “I don’t think we’ve made enough of an effort as Republicans to appeal across the broader electorate,” he said, “And then, with young people as well, given some of the positions and the behavior that the President has exhibited, it makes it very difficult for young people to identify with the Republican Party.”  Flake added that while younger voters have been “walking away from the party” for a while, “they are at a dead-sprint right now.”

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Polling would appear to confirm their concerns; a September 2017 CNN poll found just 29 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the Republican Party — the lowest since CNN began asking the question in 1992.

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While all three lawmakers have previously criticized Trump, they have voted with him on the vast majority of issues since his 2017 inauguration.