ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — A Maryland lawmaker says President Donald Trump’s rhetoric has played a role in her decision to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat.
Del. Meagan Simonaire changed parties Monday.
Simonaire, whose district is conservative, says she increasingly found herself aligned with Democratic values. Speaking of Trump, she noted “attacks” on minorities, women “and anyone who does not agree with him.”
“President Trump regularly attacks minorities, women and anyone who does not agree with him, and I can no longer remain a part of a party that condones his divisive rhetoric. It’s reprehensible,” she said during her announcement on Monday.
Trump is unpopular in much of Maryland, where he received 34 percent of the vote.
Simonaire surprised lawmakers in April, when she spoke about her parents considering therapy for her when she told them she was bisexual. She spoke about it during debate on a measure to ban “gay conversion therapy” for minors, a ban that was approved. Simonaire isn’t seeking re-election, but isn’t ruling out future public service.
“I could have waited until my term was over before switching parties, but when I ran for office, I promised to be transparent with my constituents,” Simonaire added. “This is not a decision I made lightly. I know, personally, how difficult it is to leave what has been familiar to you your entire life—whether it’s a political party or other long-held beliefs, but I also believe it is important to not let your past decisions determine your future. It’s important to grow, and that’s what I’ve done in the past 4 years as a delegate. I thank my constituents for giving me the opportunity.”
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