There has been a mass exodus from the Republican party over the past few months, with voters and elected officials alike jumping from the sinking GOP ship that has Donald Trump at the helm. Montel Williams has now joined their ranks, announcing in an op-ed published in USA Today on Wednesday that “I’m with Hillary Clinton” because Trump is an “existential threat to our republic.”
Williams began by saying that he became a Republican after hearing Ronald Reagan’s 1984 convention speech. About 20 years ago he became an Independent when he felt “the Republican Party had left me.” Williams supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the primaries. He said that he intended to keep out of the political conversation after Kasich left the race, but under the circumstances, he felt compelled to “speak out.”
But over the past three weeks, it’s become clear to me that I have an obligation to speak out — because I believe that Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger to our country.
I’ve written before about Trump: his bigotry, the cancerous effect of his reality-show-inspired campaign, and his reviling dog whistles to white supremacists. These are obviously serious problems but they are not an existential threat. Our country has endured bigoted leaders and carnival barkers before (although I struggle to recall any so despicable as to attack a Gold Star family or seemingly suggest an opponent’s assassination).
But Trump is worse than a clown or a bigot. He’s an existential threat to our republic who cannot be trusted to be commander in chief.
Williams criticized the Republican nominee for his bromance with Vladimir Putin. He said that the Russian president has “exploited Trump’s narcissism to recruit him as an unwitting agent for the Russian Federation” and “has manipulated Trump’s narcissism to advance Russia’s interest.”
The 22-year veteran of the Marine Corps and Navy then referenced the DNC hack, writing that “the Russian government is actively working against Hillary Clinton.” But that isn’t even what worries Williams the most.
This Cold War-reminiscent chain of events is bone-chilling. But even more frightening to me are Trump’s flippant remarks about nuclear weapons.
Trump allegedly asked: Why doesn’t the United States does not use nuclear weapons offensively? The answer should be obvious. A) Because our conventional capabilities are almost always sufficient; and B) as any responsible leader will tell you, the use of nuclear weapons could set off a chain of events that kills tens of millions of people in under an hour.
Williams said that although he doesn’t “agree with Clinton on every issue,” he does agree with her “on a host of social issues, from a woman’s right to choose (which I see as a fundamental liberty issue) to our right to marry whom we love, to reasonable gun safety measures (which I support as a proud, responsible gun owner).” He added that he is also influenced by “Hillary’s support for LGBT equality” and could never support a ticket that includes Mike Pence, “who has championed deplorable discrimination against the LGBT community.”
“Trump’s strategy is to manipulate the anger and fears of the American people. He’s bet on the worst in us,” wrote Williams. “But I have more faith in America. I believe we’re stronger when we work together, reach across the aisle, embrace diversity, and reject bigotry.”
Like so many other Republicans, Williams has come to the conclusion that he “is with her.” Hillary Clinton will have his vote in November.
“She was not my first choice, but she is the right choice on a host of issues,” said Williams. “Given the threat to America posed by Trump, Clinton is the only choice, and I will vote accordingly.”
Featured image via Politico