New York Representative Richard Hanna has endorsed Hillary Clinton. The the three term Republican congressman called Donald Trump a ‘national embarrassment’. Hanna is the first elected GOP politician to endorse Clinton.
“Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?” Hanna asked in an interview with a local news site. Hanna, who represents New York’s 22nd district, is not seeking re-election this year and so has nothing to gain from a Clinton endorsement, is widely considered a moderate. He opposed budget cuts for Planned Parenthood and accepts unrestricted abortion rights for rape victims.
Hanna highlighted the difficulties many voters have with Clinton but praised her as ‘a good American’ who loves her country. Hanna has contemplated voting against Trump for months but his endorsement of Clinton is unexpected. He said Trump’s attacks on the family of deceased soldier Humayun Khan pushed him into action.
Hanna is a relatively low ranking Republican, which makes his decision even more interesting. Rather than wait for a more senior politician to endorse Clinton, Hanna may shame more prominent Republicans into action. The moderate wing of the party is already distancing itself from Trump but formal denunciation has been lacking.
Senator John McCain criticized Trump for his attacks on the Khan family but stopped short of withdrawing his endorsement. House Speaker Paul Ryan rebuked the comments without mentioning Trump. Trump praised Ryan’s long-shot primary challenger on Twitter, furthering undermine party unity. Richard Hanna could just be the first Republican to cross the aisle and support Clinton.