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Former N.H. GOP Chair Urges Republicans To Vote Against Trump

Jennifer Horn photo
Kelli True / NHPR
Jennifer Horn

Of all the prominent Republicans declaring opposition to President Trump, Jennifer Horn is one of the most outspoken. The former chair of the New Hampshire GOP is co-founder of The Lincoln Project, which is dedicated to convincing Republicans to put, as they describe it, “country over party” and vote against Trump.

An op-ed she wrote last week for USA Today pleads with voters who normally swing right to vote for Democrat Joe Biden. All Things Considered Host Peter Biello interviewed Horn about her opposition and The Lincoln Project.

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Peter Biello: You've been critical of President Donald Trump for quite some time now. What is the conservative Republican case you're trying to make against the president in these last final weeks before the election?

Jennifer Horn: Well, that he's not a conservative, that he never has been. And there's nothing about his four years in the White House that would suggest otherwise. And you start from the little things that work your way up ... look at the debt and the deficit, look at the the growth of government under this president. You know, look at the destruction of our relationships with our allies around the world. Look at the way that he treats and talks about our sons and daughters who serve in the military, calling them suckers and losers and idiots, how he treats the generals and thinks that he's smarter and more qualified than they are to make decisions about which he knows nothing.

And of course, he's not at all pro-life. There's nothing conservative. There is no life, conservative life position from a president who thinks it's OK to put immigrant children in cages. There's no argument to be made that Donald Trump is in any way a conservative. If that's why people are voting for him or supporting him, I urge them to to to look at his record and reconsider.

Peter Biello: Some conservatives have said that while they are not voting for Donald Trump, they will likely write in someone else or have otherwise declined to say that they'll vote for Democratic rival Joe Biden. But but you're going to vote for Joe Biden. Why?

Jennifer Horn: I'm absolutely going to vote for Joe Biden. And while I respect the position of other conservatives out there who, you know, are, you know, to your point, are saying they can't quite bring themselves that far, I just think it's so important to take that final step and make sure that there there is no doubt and that there is no question in the results of this election. I think that as a conservative, as a Republican, as a conservative, most importantly, as an American, there's no question that Joe Biden is the better candidate in this race. And we are standing in a moment in our nation's history where you don't get to just sort of opt out, where, you know, it's not enough to say, OK, I'm not going to make it worse. It's incumbent upon us to make it better. And that means making sure that Joe Biden is in the White House. I'm not trying to make the case that Joe Biden is going to make a great conservative president and that she's going to advocate for the conservative approach to all the issues that are important to so many of us.

But I'm saying he's a decent human being who will always put the health and well-being of the American people above himself. Donald Trump not only doesn't do that, it's not just that he's not capable of it. He consciously chooses not to do so every single day. The future of our country depends on sending the decent, empathetic, compassionate, experienced leader to the White House. And that's not Donald Trump.

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Peter Biello: Trump still enjoys high approval ratings from Republicans and gets very little pushback from elected Republicans in Washington. How realistic do you think is your goal of getting more Republicans, more conservatives to turn against him?

Jennifer Horn: Well, I think it's very realistic, and I think that you cannot measure the strength of the individual Americans across this country by the weakness and ineptitude of the Republicans in Washington, D.C. The fact that Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and their cohorts in Congress had decided to essentially trade their souls in exchange for whatever they think they got from Donald Trump, I don't think that's going to be reflected by the act, the action of regular American conservatives, Republicans, independents who care really deeply about our country and the future of our children. I'm not going to make a prediction on numbers with you today, Peter, but I anticipate that everyone is going to be surprised at how many Republicans vote for Joe Biden when this is all over. And I'm not talking about a tidal wave of Republicans, but it's going to be enough to push him across the line.

Peter Biello: What would you say to those conservatives out there who say, look, President Trump delivered on cutting taxes. He delivered not one, not two, but possibly a third Supreme Court justice. Those people may say, you know, Trump has you know, his behavior may be less than ideal, but he has exhibited some conservative principles. What do you say to those folks?

Jennifer Horn: Well, first of all, his behavior has been less than ideal. It's been corrupt, it's been dangerous, it has been divisive, and it has cost over 220,000 lives. That's what his behavior has been tough for anyone to try to make the argument that it's less than ideal. 'It's just tweets. I don't listen to his Twitter. Oh, it's locker room talk.' No, it is dangerous. Donald Trump is directly responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives. So there is no argument whether you are I don't care whether you identify as a conservative, a Republican, whatever it is. There's there is no political loyalty that excuses what Donald Trump has done to this country.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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