In the wake of Donald Trump’s criticism of the Gold Star mother of a Muslim U.S. soldier who was killed in action, a trio of high-profile Republican women has publicly condemned the Republican nominee and endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president. On Monday, top adviser to Jeb Bush, Sally Bradshaw, said that the Republican party “is at a crossroads” and has “nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot,” declaring that she had switched her party affiliation from Republican to independent. Longtime Chris Christie aide, Maria Comella, also endorsed Clinton on Tuesday in comments that condemned Trump as a fearmonger and a “demagogue,” arguing that Trump’s nomination had pushed Republicans to “a moment where silence isn’t an option.”
The most significant political figure to reach across the aisle is former Hewlett Packard chairwoman and eBay executive, Meg Whitman, a billionaire who once ran for governor of California as a Republican. Whitman brings with her a substantial donor network, some of whom, Whitman said, now feel open to giving to the Democratic nominee. Together the three women join other Republican refugees that include John McCain’s granddaughter, Caroline McCain, who endorsed Clinton during the week of the Democratic convention. “I can question her policy without questioning her character,” wrote Caroline McCain of Clinton in a Medium post. “I can believe those closest to her when they say her faith is authentic, her character good, and her ambition animated by a heart of service.”
A group called Republican Women for Hillary, born one night over drinks at the St. Regis hotel in Washington D.C. when half a dozen GOP women met to commiserate over Trump’s victory in the primaries, has nearly 2,700 members on Facebook. Lifetime Republican and co-founder of the group, Meghan Milloy, said that Trump’s “snide comments about women turned Republican women off of Trump,” and that she and others appreciated Clinton’s “past work on children and women’s issues, and equal pay for women.” Milloy also said that Clinton’s record, much maligned by Bernie Sanders supporters, as “pro-trade, pro-business, pro-immigration … pro-military,” made the Democratic candidate appealing to those who felt Trump had strayed from “traditionally Republican ideals.”
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