One of Iowa’s most senior state senators announced Tuesday he had suspended his membership in the Republican Party in protest of “the racist remarks and judicial jihad” of Donald Trump, The Des Moines Register reported .
David Johnson, 65, changed his voter registration on Tuesday from Republican to “no party” after 18 years in the state legislature, the paper reported.
“I will not stand silent if the party of Lincoln and the end of slavery buckles under the racial bias of a bigot,” Johnson told the newspaper.
His move comes amid growing pressure from the Republican base for party leaders to rethink their support of Trump after the presumptive nominee accused a federal judge of bias because of his Mexican ancestry.
One senator — vulnerable Illinois Republican Mark S. Kirk — withdrew his endorsement for Trump on Tuesday and others have indicated they are considering a similar gesture.
Johnson also called on national and state Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to immediately withdraw their support for Trump, the paper reported.
Ryan on Tuesday called Trump’s comments about the judge “racist,” but said the billionaire mogul’s views are still more aligned with his own than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s. Trump, meanwhile, said in a statement that his comments about the judge had been, “misconstrued.”