OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — After a lifetime dedicated to the Grand Old Party, former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards said he no longer considers himself a Republican.
“It’s gone. I mean there is no Republican Party anymore that has values, principles, morals, anything,” Edwards said Thursday.
Those are harsh words from a man who registered as Republican as soon as he was allowed. As a young man, Edwards idolized Republican leaders.
“We thought taxes could be too high and harmful. We thought regulation could be too much and harmful. We should have a strong military. I agreed with all of that,” Edwards said. “It’s true today. I still agree with that.”
From 1977 to 1993, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, proud to lead his party.
But when Donald Trump ran, he voiced his dismay, writing a letter that said Trump was unfit for office. The letter was signed by 30 former Republican members of Congress.
Congressional objections to the November 2020 presidential election, won by Democrat Joe Biden, were the tipping point. Edwards said he could not understand how even after Republican Trump-supporting governors and legislators confirmed it was a fair election, members of Congress continued to call it into question.
“The members of Congress knew better. They knew better. (Sen. James) Lankford knew better. Members of the House delegation knew better,” Edwards said. “They knew the results, they had the information. They saw that it was Republican Trump supporters all across the country who were saying, ‘No, we lost.’”
He pointed out that Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation objected to the Electoral College vote count even after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week.
“This has become a cult. It’s no longer a political party. It’s a cult. It’s the kind of a cult that when the leader of the cult does anything, no matter what it is, or how awful it is, they voted,” Edwards said. “They voted to question the election results even after people came into the Capitol, tried to kill them and killed a police officer who was trying to protect them. And they did that.”
Edwards has chosen to leave the party and has registered as an independent. He said he hopes its leaders will soon find the courage to do what’s right.
“You’ve got the Josh Hawleys, and the Ted Cruzes and the James Lankfords, and these people who are letting their personal ambition, and fear of the voters, they want to inherit those voters, and it’s leading them to real dark paths. So I don’t know what the future is,” Edwards said, “but for me, it’s outside of the Republican Party.”
Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, members of Trump’s loyal base, voted to reject Biden’s victory last week. Lankford, R-Okla., a promising younger Republican who raised eyebrows when initially supporting the effort, abandoned it after the Capitol riot.