The Slatest

Jeb Bush’s Longtime Adviser Just Quit the GOP Because of Trump

Jeb Bush speaks to an audience of voters on Feb. 17 in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

One more data point among many that Donald Trump’s attempt to unify the Republican Party isn’t exactly going smoothly: Sally Bradshaw, a longtime adviser to Jeb Bush, announced Monday that she has formally left her party rather than having anything to do with Trump.

“This election cycle is a test,” Bradshaw told CNN in an email interview. “As much as I don’t want another four years of [President] Obama’s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”

Bradshaw told the cable network that she switched her voter registration in Florida from Republican to unaffiliated, though she does not appear to have ruled out rejoining the party in the future or even voting for other Republicans lower on the ballot this November. Still, the formal act of protest packs some punch given Bradshaw’s reputation as a GOP power player in both Washington and Tallahassee. She helped write the Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” following Mitt Romney’s loss four years ago, a document that called on the party to do more to attract Hispanic voters, something Trump clearly has not done.

Bradshaw’s former boss, Jeb, is already on record saying that he can’t bring himself to vote for either Trump or Clinton, but Bradshaw made it clear that she is willing to pull the lever for the Democratic nominee if that’s what it takes to keep Trump out of the White House:

If the race in Florida is close, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. That is a very difficult statement for me to make. I disagree with her on several important issues. I have worked to elect Republicans to national and statewide offices for the last 30 years. I have never voted for a Democrat for president, and I consider myself a conservative, a supporter of limited government, gun rights, free enterprise, equality of opportunity. I am pro-life. There are no other candidates who were serious contenders for the nomination that I would not have supported. But we are at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist—a misogynist—a bigot. This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president.

In the grand scheme of things, Bradshaw’s announcement will most likely be quickly forgotten. She’s hardly a household name, and her decision to speak out against her party’s nominee doesn’t rise nearly to the level of similar decisions from public figures like Mitt Romney, Illinois. Sen. Mark Kirk, or even former Ronald Reagan spokesman Doug Elmets. Still, by not only speaking out against Trump, but actually quitting her party and also declaring her willingness to vote for Clinton this November, Bradshaw in her own small way is making it easier for the next Republican to do the same.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.