Updated at 5:15 p.m.: The Georgia GOP elector who balked on whether to support Donald Trump has resigned, said Georgia GOP spokesman Ryan Mahoney. More details to come in a separate post.
Original: I just finished a highly unusual telephone conversation with Baoky Vu, a naturalized U.S. citizen and longtime GOP activist in Georgia.
Vu will be on the November ballot as an elector – a constitutionally mandated stand-in for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Should Trump take Georgia, Vu will be one of 16 Georgia members of the electoral college who will formally decide the U.S. presidential contest.
Vu has just put out a statement saying that he cannot bring himself to vote for Trump in the November general election. And he might not vote for Trump as a member of the electoral college, either.
Georgia is one of 21 states that do not require its members of the electoral college to adhere to the results of the popular vote in their state. “I have the right to vote for a write-in candidate in the electoral college,” Vu said.
Vu is a Decatur resident and serves on the governing board of the Technical College System of Georgia, and is vice chair of the DeKalb County Board of Voter Registration and Elections.
Vu and his family left Vietnam prior to the fall of Saigon in 1975. After two years in Australia, the family moved to the United States, eventually settling in Georgia.
Last month, Vu accompanied his wife, an alternate delegate for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Vu said he has never been “on board” with Trump, but the Republican presidential candidate’s feud with a Muslim family who lost their soldier-son in Iraq was the final straw. Vu harkened back to his family’s decision to flee communist rule in Vientam.
“We hungered for the right to vote. I’m not going to throw that away,” Vu said.
Already, there are calls for his ouster as an elector. Tea party honcho Debbie Dooley sent a note to her followers urging them to call the Georgia GOP and demand that he step down.
“Baoky Vu is a disgrace and Republicans should be outraged over Vu’s stance to help Hillary,” she said. “It is an embarrassment to the Georgia Republican Party.”
Here’s the statement he put out this morning:
“I’ve been active in the Republican Party for many years precisely because it has championed the aspirational ideals of Lincoln, Reagan and Kemp. Our recent standard-bearers have proudly and honorably defended those ideas on the political battlefield. From Bush 41 to Romney to Jeb and many of the other 2016 primary contestants, there was never a wavering doubt as to their character, integrity and temperament.
“This is the Republican Party of Lincoln and Reagan and Romney and Ryan, not the Party of Donald Trump. As a 2016 Presidential Elector, I am forever grateful to our state Party and our Chairman for bestowing this once-in-a-lifetime honor on me. I take my role seriously and in the face of the difficult choice before us, I will always put America First over party and labels.
“Thus, I will not be voting for Donald Trump in the general election. My conscience is clear but my soul is being tested. Born in Saigon, my family knows what it is like to lose a country and my family is forever indebted to America and our allies. I have never questioned the soul, character and goodness of the Nation by who we have chosen as our leader throughout history.
“Rather than earning the American people’s respect and trust through the duration of the past year, Donald Trump’s antics and asinine behavior has cemented my belief that he lacks the judgment, temperament and gravitas to lead this Nation. Throughout the process, he has hurled insults at our heroes and their families, denigrated the disabled and praised dictators. Forget political incorrectness, this is simply despicable demagoguery.
“In this time of global challenges, we will succeed only if we come together. We’ve done it before, from the courthouse steps of Appomattox to the days after Pearl Harbor. And to my Republican brothers and sisters in arms, politics should be a honorable sport. Rather than fighting to defend the indefensible, let’s live to fight another day.”