“I will not quietly fall in line. I will not give up my principles.”
Donald Trump may have won the Republican nomination in every way except the official coronation in Cleveland in July, but some prominent Republican voices refuse to cheer for him.
One of these voices belongs to the communications chair for the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF), the nationwide organization that oversees all Young Republican (YR) clubs around the country.
Monday afternoon, Katrina Jørgensen posted a resignation letter on her Facebook page, stating that she was “regretfully” resigning her position because her “principles will no longer allow” her to carry out her duties.
The conflict, explains Jørgensen, is that she believes it will be impossible to promote pro-Republican messages along with promoting Trump (emphasis in original):
As the head of our national communications my voice is part of our message, and I am intrinsically tied to it. Therefore I must step down. I cannot live with being seen as supporting a candidate I truly feels tramples on all of our values. Even if we, as an organization, focused exclusively on congressional candidates, we would still be seen as complicit. It would be impossible to resist the pressure to push for a straight-R ticket when we campaign.
The role of the Communications Committee is to reach our members and the public with our positions in support of our parent party. Unfortunately, the RNC has decided to embrace this candidate as our standard-bearer. So every press release, every tweet that does not denounce Trump will be seen as capitulating to the GOP. Our social media accounts have already seen messages from people announcing their support of Donald Trump and invoking our organization. I cannot be part of that. No matter how loud I am in my renouncement of Trump, my title will still betray me. I want no part of a racist, fascist, hateful presidency.
The YRNF is an official division of the Republican Party, a separately incorporated umbrella organization representing the local groups of YRs, defined as Republicans between the ages of 18 and 40 years of age.
In her letter, Jørgensen calls on other YR leaders to “prayerfully consider their own positions,” and invites them to join her (emphasis in original):
There is no easy answer to the situation our party is in, but I believe we would do much more for our country by standing together against Donald Trump. We have been told for years how we are the future of the party, this is our opportunity to seize that future. But if we have instead decided to uphold a man who does not represent us or our views — a man that has belittled war heroes, explicitly stated misogynist beliefs, relied on intimidation of minorities, insulted our international allies, rewarded violence, championed divisive rhetoric and proved completely uneducated in conservative fiscal policy — I cannot participate in that. When each of us decided to get involved in politics, we all hoped to change our county, our state, our nation for the better. We sit on the edge of history now, a choice to be made.
I spoke to Jørgensen by phone shortly after she posted her letter and she emphasized that she understood the dilemma that other Republican leaders were facing, but that she did not see any way to separate her YRNF duties from supporting Trump.
After Trump won the Indiana primary, effectively securing the GOP nomination, the YR leadership sent out an email that “didn’t even mention Trump and said we’re focused on electing as many Republicans as possible [in the] down ballot races,” said Jørgensen.
However, she continued, “without saying ‘no, we’re against Trump,’ I feel like we’re still complicit” in supporting someone who does not support our principles. “I couldn’t do that anymore.”
After taking some time to weigh her options and talk to her family, Jørgensen decided “now was the time to step back from this position.” She intends to continue her work with YRNF’s International Outreach and as South Carolina Chair, and to spend the next few months supporting down-ballot Republican candidates.
Jørgensen is not aware of any other Young Republicans who are planning to resign because of Trump. As of Monday evening, she had already been removed from the list of YRNF leaders on the group’s website.
Still, Jørgensen is fine doing this alone. As she writes in the conclusion of her letter:
…I cannot support a candidate who endorses bigotry and lawlessness, with a minimal understanding of the fiscal policies long associated with our party, even if he does have an “R” after his name. I could not later tell my children I did the right thing, instead I would have to live with allowing my politics to be corrupted. I cannot stand by and continue to write newsletters and posts that so strongly conflict with my personal values. I will not surrender my beliefs.
This is not the way forward. I will not quietly fall in line. I will not give up my principles.
I will always be #NeverTrump.
[Disclosure: Katrina Jørgensen is an editor at Independent Journal Review, where I am also a contributor, although she is not responsible for reviewing or editing my articles.]
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