OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
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President Donald Trump has become radioactive to many Republicans, and those who once supported him have begun to abandon ship.
Among them is his longtime supporter and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer who said the president is “on his own,” The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
“At this point, I won’t defend him anymore,” he said to the AP. “I won’t defend him for stirring the pot that incited the mob. He’s on his own.”
Fleischer is a GOP strategist and was a White House press secretary under former President George W. Bush, according to the AP. Fleischer also voted for Trump.
Rioters descended on the Capitol building during Wednesday’s march, protesting against the Electoral College’s certification of the presidential election results, multiple sources said. Members of the mob broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office after getting past Capitol Police and breaking into the Capitol.
The former White House press secretary had suggested Wednesday, just before a mob stormed the Capitol, that 2016 protests against the president cleared the way for Wednesday’s protests. Fleischer tweeted that he made those comments before rioters stormed the Capitol and urged Trump to denounce “and tell the crowd to disperse.”
“No group, for any reason, should be allowed to take over the Capitol Building. It belongs to the people, not the mob,” Fleischer said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Fleischer’s change comes after he declared that he would vote for President Trump in 2020 after not voting for him in 2016.
“I voted for Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary election, left my ballot blank in the 2016 general election, and now must decide whom to vote for this year. In several ways, I find Donald Trump over the top and offensive. I have said this on-air and on Twitter. He can be too hot to handle, insulting people and often making himself the issue, diverting attention from more important policy matters. Many of my Republican friends, notably women, will not vote for him, not because they are ‘Republicans in name only’ but because the president has given them some reason to reject him,” he said in October.
He stated, and described the many issues he had with President Trump, but explained why he believed Biden was a worse choice.
“Biden is weak. He will not stand up to the left as he changed his position with abortion and crime. He will not stand up to China. Given the fact that he conducted only one or two public events a day before the coronavirus, I have doubts in his ability to endure the burden of the presidency,” he said.
“Say what you will about Trump violating norms, he has never tried to redo the balance of power by irregular means. But his policies will last decades, no matter or, perhaps thanks to, his personality. His promises to confront China, appoint conservatives to the judiciary, and secure peace deals for Israel and the Arab neighbors are worthy of support. His policies over the economy did more to assist low-income Americans with pay raises, which reduced the wealth gap far more than any idea to redistribute income. He helped people with the actions conducted in the private sector.
“My choice in the 2020 general election is between a personally offensive outsider who signs good policies and a professionally offensive politician who will turn bad ideas into law. This is why I will vote for Trump,” he said.