As a proud American of Hispanic descent, for years I have faced criticism by many, applause from a few, and held at arm’s length by yet others as my party affiliation was Republican. While I have always believed in the need to make sure our men and women of the United States Armed Forces are the best trained and best equipped in the world, in the benefits of a free market system that operates within guidelines, in the need for fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility and religious freedom, it now has become apparent that none of these are the priority of the Republican Party.

Admittedly, more of a fiscal conservative and social progressive, I have always labored to work within the party to keep it the Party of Lincoln, the party that championed equal opportunity, human dignity and equality. Sadly, the party has turned in the direction of white nationalism for far too many, accelerating the corruption of principle to the point that victory by any means is now the only goal and at the price of the party’s character and commitment to our country.

From the lavish praise uttered by this President towards Vladimir Putin and the hostile remarks towards our friends and allies, to the passage of tax reform that does nothing to reform taxes but dramatically increases our national debt, to the failure to acknowledge the conflict of interest that is the spending of tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer’s funds at Trump properties, this is now the Party of Trump.

Today, party leadership and far too many Republican elected officials work tirelessly to defend the clearly racist remarks uttered by the President. They defended him when he encouraged violence between Americans during the primary, when he said no member of his campaign ever spoke with representatives of the Russian government, they defended him when he said there was no Russian interference in our elections, they defend him now has he refers to immigrants and asylum seekers as vermin, animals, gang members and murderers, and they defend him still as this government separates young children, even infants from their families as part of this President’s Zero-Tolerance policy.

Sadly, the Republican Party now carries the Trump brand, a brand that has increased the national debt, is working to destabilize NATO, is creating trade wars with all our major trading partners, is empowering white supremacist groups, attacks not defends human dignity of certain populations and is involved in an all-out attack on Hispanic-American citizens and non-citizens alike.

From the inflammatory rhetoric that has led to an increase in hate crimes against individuals with prominent Hispanic features or surnames regardless of immigration status, to the implementation of an enforcement only immigration policy which almost all respected security experts say will be costly and ineffective, to the way this government has treated the American Citizens of Puerto Rico in the wake of a Hurricane Maria, a storm that took the lives of over 5,000 of our countrymen, there can be no excuse.

It is for these reasons that on July 11, I renounce my membership in the Republican Party and change my party affiliation to Independent. I will now labor to see that this administration and its supporters are defeated in upcoming elections.

America’s strength flows from the constant influx of the immigrant work ethic, from the benefits of diversity and inclusion, from our commitment to freedom and to providing equal access to opportunity and the American Dream to all. I look forward to the day when this is once again the prevailing understanding among Americans.

In shared commitment to the Promise of America,

– Darryl D. Morin

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Lee Matz