John Labrosse, the Republican mayor of Hackensack, New Jersey, has recently made it known that both he and the city’s Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino are switching their party affiliations to independent. The two officials are citing the many racist comments made by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, over the course of his presidential campaign, as their primary motive for deregistering from the party.
The pair released the following statement, after announcing that they were jumping ship from the sinking Republican party:
The divisive and racist statements that Trump keeps making are insulting to many of our people and completely unacceptable. We don’t want a young student in one of our schools hearing these things and believing that their own elected officials are supporting these types of statements
Both Labrosse and Canestrino stated that there wasn’t any specific comment made by Trump that drove them out of the party. The pair stated that it was “the general tone” of his campaign, which has basically been an accumulation of racist comments followed by what was practically free advertising provided by the mainstream media’s nonstop, uncritical, and disproportionate coverage of him and his behavior throughout the primary.
CBS news also mentioned in their coverage that 17,000 of the city’s 44,000 residents were “foreign-born,” with 13,000 of those residents surveyed indicating that they spoke Spanish at home, according to census data from 2014. This data suggests that Labrosse and Canestrino may be responding to more than just their moral consciousness in their decision to leave the party at this juncture. Given that Trump is a remarkably unfavorable candidate among Latino voters, it’s possible that their future electability will be at stake if they don’t make their distaste for Trump known in a public fashion.
It’s also possible that they left the party because they truly feel that Trump is dangerous, and that they can not faithfully continue to be members of a party that nominates him for one of the most powerful administrative positions in the world. It’s nice to think that there are many within the Republican Party who are genuinely repelled by Trump’s bigotry, and are opposing him on principal rather than electability.
The decision by the Hackensack mayor came days after recent comments made by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) in defense of Trump, particularly his recent remarks about a federal judge’s Mexican ancestry:
Those are Donald’s opinions and he has the right to express them, the same way anybody else has the right to express their views regarding how they’re treated in the civil or criminal courts in this country.
Christie also followed up with this statement by saying that Donald Trump was “not racist.”
Trump himself has also stated that his comments about the federal judge–who is currently overseeing a lawsuit against him for fraud allegations at Trump University–were “misconstrued.” He states that he did not intend the comments to be an “attack against people of Mexican heritage.” This is incredibly hard to believe, considering that he was the first person to bring up the judge’s ancestry as an argument against his ability to judge the case fairly.
Featured image via Getty.