The most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives said count him out when it comes to campaigning for his party's presidential pick. GOP support for Donald Trump has been eroding following the release of a controversial video last Friday.
A Republican congressman who represents parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lehigh and Northampton counties is calling for even more drastic measures. U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent has been outspoken against Trump for months. He now says Trump should step aside for the election, and that's not sitting well with some local Republican leaders.
"The only thing that would shock me at this point is there is not a revelation," Dent said.
On national TV and Monday, during a conference call with House GOP leaders, Dent urged Trump to step away from the presidential race.
"In order to win, a lot of us feel like we have to get someone on top of the ticket that could win," Dent said.
Dent, who's running for re-election, has been outspoken against Trump for months, citing Trump's targeting of Hispanics, Muslims, disabled reporters, women and U.S. Sen. John McCain, to name a few.
But Dent said the recently released video of Trump making lewd remarks about women pushed the him over the edge.
"I've gotten phone calls, texts, complaints about Charlie Dent and him going on TV," said Lee Snover, chairman of the Northampton County Republican Committee. "I think he is wrong. I've supported every Republican nominee, even one I wasn't crazy about. I stayed with them until the polls closed, and Charlie should do the same."
Snover said reasons Dent is dumping Trump may be anything from encouraging voter suppression to Dent possibly angling for a position in a Clinton White House, but she said the bigger issue is what the vocal non-support could mean to rest of the party.
"Why did the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign say it's the economy stupid? That's what I feel like saying to Charlie Dent," Snover said. "It's the Supreme Court stupid. It's the jobs stupid. It's security stupid. Stop picking on the small things Donald Trump has said."
Ironically, Dent said his key reason in dissing the Donald are Trump's policy plans or lack thereof.
"The reality of the situation is we have two candidates with record high unfavorability ratings," Dent said.
As for Dent angling for a spot in a Clinton White House or voter suppression, he calls that nonsense and without merit and said Clinton's handling of classified emails should bar her from being president.
Dent said the party should focus on down-ballot races.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News