Hawaii State Rep. Beth Fukumoto is considering a switch from the Republican Party after she was removed from her position as Hawaii’s House minority leader earlier this week.
Fukumoto told NBC News that she no longer felt she was able to defend the Republican Party and its actions. Fukumoto claims she has been receiving criticism from the GOP since her participation in the Women’s March in Honolulu on Jan. 21.
“What ended up being very problematic for me was that my caucus and others said, ‘If you want to stay in leadership, then you need to make a commitment to not criticize the president for the remainder of his term,'” she said. After all of the executive orders that President Trump has signed since his inauguration, Fukumoto did not believe she could follow through with what her party wanted of her.
At the Women’s March in Honolulu, she spoke out against President Trump’s rise to the presidency she said was founded on racism and sexism. “It doesn’t matter to me who you voted for. People cast their votes for a lot of different reasons,” Fukumoto said. “But, no matter who your choice was, the fact remains the same. A man won the White House with anger and hate, and our kids watched it happen. Now, it’s our jobs to make sure they watch us fight back.”
Her speech at the Women’s March led to immediate responses, in the form of messages from her colleagues to meet and calls for her resignation. Republican Rep. Cynthia Thielen defended Fukumoto’s participation in the march at the caucus on Wednesday. Thielen herself also spoke at the march. “Now she is being punished by three-and-a-half of our members for participating in the democratic process,” Thielen voiced.
When another caucus member tried to divert the discussion away from the topic of the march, Thielen responded: “It’s all about the Women’s March. It’s all about Representative Fukumoto standing up for women and human rights.”
Fukumoto’s letter to her constituents this past week expressed her desire to leave the Republicans; she has said she may be joining the Democratic Party.
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