Despite Mike Crapo’s rescinded support of Donald Trump two weeks ago, the Idaho senator says he plans on voting for the GOP presidential nominee.
Crapo, R-Idaho Falls, was interviewed Friday morning on conservative talkshow host Neal Larson’s radio program on KID Newsradio. When Larson asked Crapo about how he responds to backlash from Republicans regarding Crapo’s pulled endorsement of Trump, Crapo said he will do what is necessary to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.
“The choice we still have today and the choice we will have is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Crapo said.
“In that context, I have to tell you, though I thought and felt we needed a different choice, that’s not what we’re going to get, and we cannot elect Hillary Clinton for many reasons. ... Given that choice, I will vote for the Republican ticket: Trump and (vice presidential nominee Mike) Pence.”
Crapo continued, “We must elect a president who will appoint strong Supreme Court justices who will interpret the Constitution as it was written and who will help lead us to a stronger free market and a more limited government. In that context, I don’t think the choice is that hard when we realize the decision this country must make.”
Crapo urged Trump to step down and for Pence to take his place after a 2005 recording of Trump making sexually disparaging remarks about women surfaced Oct. 7. In the recording, Trump bragged about aggressively and inappropriately groping and grabbing women and getting away with such behavior because of his celebrity status.
“I can no longer endorse Donald Trump,” Crapo said in a written statement released Oct. 8. “This is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior has left me no choice. His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning. … Make no mistake — we need conservative leadership in the White House. I urge Donald Trump to step aside and allow the Republican party to put forward a conservative candidate like Mike Pence who can defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Crapo was not alone in his pulled support of Trump. Many Republican leaders around the country voiced their displeasure with the GOP presidential nominee and similarly called for Trump to step down. Crapo was joined by Republicans such as Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Arizona Sen. John McCain and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho Falls.
In the days following Crapo’s statement, he became the focus of backlash from fellow Gem State Republicans. Idaho County Republicans responded by withdrawing their support for Crapo in his bid for re-election this November.
“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,” said John Menough, chairman of the Idaho County Republican Central Committee, in a letter to Crapo.
Several state Republicans, however, are still behind Crapo in his re-election bid. Dan Cravens, Bingham County Republican chairman, visited with Crapo on Monday and listened to him speak at Idaho State University. Cravens says while he understands Crapo’s frustration and disappointment regarding Trump, the fact that Trump is the GOP presidential nominee is not going to change. Cravens also said he appreciates Crapo and the senator still has the support of local Republicans.
“There’s never any question for Republicans (that) we were going to support Sen. Crapo,” Cravens said. “He’s an excellent senator, and he represents our state very well.”
Idaho Democrat Jerry Sturgill, who is running against Crapo for Idaho's Senate seat, said "I mourn the GOP of my youth and am saddened by the compromises forced on our Republican leaders. Sen. Crapo has swerved from partisan, to principled to pandering. What happened to principled?"