Paul Mitchell, a retiring Michigan congressman, said Monday he is leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent to protest his former party's efforts to overturn President-elect Biden's victory.
Representative Mitchell, of Dryden, is nearing the end of his second and final term. He wrote a letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the same day.
"It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote," he said.
Mitchell said he voted for Mr. Trump despite some reservations about four more years of his leadership. He criticized GOP leaders for tolerating "unfounded conspiracy theories" without defending a secure electoral process. He did not join 106 House Republicans who signed onto a Texas lawsuit —— that sought to invalidate the results in Michigan and three other states.
"I believe that raw political considerations, not constitutional or voting integrity concerns, motivate many in party leadership to support the 'stop the steal' efforts, which is extremely disappointing to me," Mitchell wrote. "As elected members of Congress, we take an oath to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States,' not to preserve and protect the political interests of any individual, be it the president or anyone else, to the detriment of our cherished nation."
"As a result, I am writing to advise you both that I am withdrawing from my engagement and association with the Republican party at both the national and State level," Mitchell added. "...I am also requesting that the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives change my party affiliation to Independent for the remainder of my term in office. While admittedly symbolic, we all know that symbols matter."