Elections

Crapo, Simpson get blowback from GOP for rejecting Trump

Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, is pursued by reporters as he arrives for a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Senate Republican Conference on July 7, at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters in Washington.
Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, is pursued by reporters as he arrives for a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Senate Republican Conference on July 7, at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters in Washington.

Idaho County Republicans won’t be putting up any more lawn signs for Sen. Mike Crapo, after Idaho’s senior senator withdrew his endorsement for Donald Trump last weekend.

“You have lost our respect as a Republican and we feel you are no longer worthy of the title of ‘Republican’ that we proudly wear,” Jon Menough, chairman of the Idaho County Republican Central Committee, said in a letter to Crapo this week.

In an interview on Friday, Menough said that Trump “is the one that’s one been chosen by the party, and I believe we need to support him.” And he said that includes Crapo, who’s running for a fourth term.

Menough said the central committee has received no response from Crapo.

We talk about how toxic it’s become. At some point in time, don’t we all have to stand up and say ‘Enough’s enough, we deserve better than this’? And I guess that’s what I was saying when I said I can’t support Donald Trump.

Republican Rep. Mike Simpson

In his letter to the senator, Menough told Crapo he had “relinquished your right to be associated with the party we represent.”

As a result, he said, the county’s central committee would provide no financial backing for Crapo and members would not distribute signs or other campaign literature promoting the senator’s re-election bid.

Donald Trump was elected to represent the party — by the people, not by the senators, not by other groups, but by the people.

Jon Menough, Idaho County GOP Central Committee chairman

Crapo backed Trump until Saturday, but he became one of the first Republicans to withdraw his endorsement after the Washington Post released a 2005 video that showed Trump boasting about kissing and groping women without their consent. Crapo said that Trump’s comments were “disrespectful, profane and demeaning” and made him unfit for the presidency, with his quick distancing earning him a mention in the opening of NBC’s “Saturday Light Live.”

Earlier, Crapo said he had endorsed Trump because he liked many of his ideas, including his plans for a strong defense, cutting taxes and limiting government and regulations.

Rep. Mike Simpson, who had never endorsed Trump but had said he would vote for him, also said last Saturday that he could not support Trump.

“We’re getting some kickback from it, as I suspected we would,” Simpson told the Statesman editorial board Friday. “But at some point in time, as toxic as these campaigns have become ... somebody’s got to stand up for civility and decency and say enough is enough.”

Crapo’s communications director, Lindsay Nothern, said Crapo’s office had gotten many calls Monday through Wednesday, but the volume dropped off after that. Most of the calls came from people unhappy with Crapo’s Trump reversal, but the office also got calls of support.

Crapo was scheduled to be on Idaho Reports Friday at 8 p.m. in a joint appearance with his Democratic opponent, businessman Jerry Sturgill.

Simpson said his office also “got a lot phone calls from people saying they’ll never vote for me again.”

Simpson said he is not sure if he will vote for a third party or a write-in, but he said he is not voting for Hillary Clinton: “I can’t bring myself to vote for one of two people I think are unqualified to be president,” Simpson said.

But Simpson said he and other Republicans were critical of Democrats who stood beside Bill Clinton in the 1990s “regardless of his misdeeds.”

“Are we in a different position now? Should Republicans say, ‘Wait a minute. I’m going to stand behind Donald Trump no matter what he does?’”

Rocky Barker contributed: 208-377-6484, @RockyBarker

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