Republican Senators Ditching Trump?

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Several Senate Republicans who are not known as strong supporters of former President Donald Trump are debating whether to attend the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee this summer, as Trump inches closer to potentially reclaiming the presidency next year.

Among these senators, Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Todd Young (Indiana), and Thom Tillis (North Carolina) have expressed that they do not intend to attend the July convention, which is expected to heavily feature Trump. Additionally, Mike Rounds (South Dakota), Susan Collins (Maine), Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Jerry Moran (Kansas), and Rand Paul (Kentucky) are still undecided about their attendance.

Most of the senators in question, except for Tillis—who has offered limited support to Trump after the primary—have not endorsed Trump’s third presidential run. Their reluctance to attend the convention does not explicitly mention Trump, but their general lack of enthusiasm for the former president is well documented.

Senator John Thune (South Dakota) remarked on the situation, noting, “Everyone must make their own decision about it, but it’s part of our political life. Conventions are a longstanding element of our political system aimed at uniting the party and making critical leadership decisions.”

Romney has clearly stated he will not attend, a decision influenced by his contentious history with Trump, including his votes to convict Trump in both impeachment trials. Murkowski and Young mentioned they have other travel plans during the convention week, though specifics were not disclosed. Tillis commented that he generally avoids conventions due to state-level political commitments and is not likely to attend.

Collins and Cassidy, both of whom voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, are undecided and reviewing their schedules. Cassidy suggested a decision might come closer to the event.

Rounds mentioned he might consider attending if Trump chooses a vice-presidential candidate he supports, like Senators Tim Scott (South Carolina) or Marco Rubio (Florida).

The 2016 convention also saw significant absences within the Senate GOP, reflecting internal divisions. However, key figures like Senator Tommy Tuberville (Alabama) argue that current times call for unity, emphasizing that attendance is more about country than individual political figures.

Despite this call for unity, logistical challenges and personal reservations about Trump may influence the final attendance list. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), along with other leaders like Thune and Senator John Cornyn (Texas), plan to attend, signaling some level of official support within the GOP leadership.

The convention, a pivotal event for Trump and his supporters, will gather diverse factions within the Republican Party, showcasing both unity and division as the election approaches.

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