WA GOP Must Denounce Trump’s Lies About Mail-in Ballots and Embrace of White Supremacists

Attacking the legitimacy of Washington state elections and emboldening political violence is still not enough to get the WA GOP to speak out against Trump

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 30, 2020  

SEATTLE — During last night’s atrocious debate performance, President Trump once again repeated his false attacks on the integrity of elections conducted by mail-in ballots, which Washington state has been doing successfully for years without incident. He followed up those lies with doubling down on his empty threat to reject the results of the election if he loses due to millions of Americans voting safely by mail and rejecting his failed leadership. 

Trump’s lies are nothing less than an assault on American democracy itself, and even Republicans in Washington state must speak out to defend the legitimacy of our elections. If they continue to follow the lead of senior statewide Republican elected official Kim Wyman and refuse to call out his un-American refusal to accept the results of November’s election, they are dangerously undermining public confidence in our democracy and the crucial norm of a peaceful transition of power. 

Loren Culp, Matt Larkin, JT Wilcox, Mark Schoesler, and every candidate for office in Washington state running as a Republican owes Washington voters reassurance that they reject these false attacks on our elections and must make a public commitment to accepting the results of our safe and secure election conducted by mail.

Even more concerning was Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacist militias that have been stoking politically-motivated violent conflict across the country. This is not a new idea for the president who claimed there were “very fine people on both sides” of the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville that killed peaceful protester Heather Heyer and refused to condemn Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. He knew what he was doing, and the gleeful reaction from the specific violent militia he called to arms during the debate was entirely predictable. Worse, his campaign doubled down on Trump’s comments this morning, clearly signaling that they have no intention of even trying to suppress right-wing political violence.

Despite the president refusing to take responsibility for deescalating political violence, his dereliction of duty doesn’t exempt WA GOP leaders from their obligation to do the same. This is particularly true of GOP candidate for governor Loren Culp, who has literally embraced members of a similar militia to the group Trump promoted during last night’s debate. Culp has gone as far as to pay them $7,000 for undisclosed fundraising expenses, but hasn’t spoken out against their intimidation tactics in patrolling peaceful protests. In the wake of Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacists, Culp’s silence is deafening.

WA GOP candidates must do better than their state party chair, who refused to directly account for the president’s call to action for the Proud Boys that has already become a fundraising boon for the militia group. If any Washington state Republican wants to claim any measure of credible leadership in our state, they must unequivocally tell the Proud Boys and every other far-right militia group to stand down, not “stand back and stand by.”

“What we witnessed from Trump last night should alarm every American voter and no elected official should let Trump’s assault on our democracy go unanswered,” said Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. “We’ve seen the WA GOP and their candidates up and down the ballot resort to racist fearmongering about law and order for months, but that has to stop — today. We can’t treat our country’s proud tradition of peacefully transferring power after elections like a game — they need to speak up now and commit to accepting the results of November’s election, plain and simple.”