Statement on the State of the 2016 Race

Allow me to begin with a moment of personal notation: this election, and what we have seen unfold in our nation’s political process over the course of the past months, has fundamentally disappointed me, and it pains me to admit that what has happened has made me feel ashamed to be a Republican and incredibly embarrassed for our great nation and its people.

I have a firm personal belief that the Presidency of the United States is much larger than any one man — or woman; it is an office that must be respected; that must epitomize clearly for the country and for the world, the values on which our nation was founded, and the class, elegance, compassion, and civility that makes America a shining light of hope for millions of hopeless people around the world.

Most of our Presidential Candidates in 2016 have failed in this regard.

Name calling, discrimination, classless disrespect and weak character, have marked the personalities and lack of seriousness of not only a number of particular Republican candidates, but also, our own front-runner: Mr. Trump, who has wounded our party for generations to come and who has built his rise to the top of the political process on a hatred for everyone who isn’t named ‘Donald Trump;’ potentially the most self-centered, uneducated, unaware man to ever come so close to the doors of the Oval Office.

It is no surprise that the hateful, immoral, and divisive rhetoric and policies of our party’s front-runner have led to the near-fatal collapse of civilized American society, where a candidate’s supporters find it appropriate to insult and physically assault people of opposing viewpoints; where a leading contender for the most important office in the world has no regard for the freedom of press or for freedom of speech; where violence and riots erupt at their rallies, instigated and encouraged — multiple times — by the candidate himself.

This is, on the most basic, fundamental level, not who we are as a people and not what we have always stood for as a nation.

Even if Donald Trump loses to Hillary Clinton in November — as he surely will — Mr. Trump’s message of pure hate; a message of discrimination and one that is fundamentally un-American; has led to division — and even violence — that has scarred us as a people and as a nation for years to come.

Watching the images of Chicago this past weekend, I wasn’t sure if I was watching live video or reruns of 1968 riots, and that made me scared, that made me disappointed, and that deeply saddened me as an American.

Tonight, I can say with full certainty that my pledge to oppose Donald Trump in a general election has only been strengthened and reinforced by the front-runners continued disrespect of American values and hateful message of division.

In the days and weeks ahead, after a lengthy and relaxing break from politics, taking some time for deep personal reflection and spending some time with my family and friends, I have every intention of becoming more involved and more a part of this process than ever before — doing more than my part to ensure that Donald Trump — and no one who’s message is of hate and division — gets the keys to the Oval Office.

It has been an incredible opportunity to support Marco Rubio’s campaign, and I am honored and humbled that I had the chance in this election to support a role model and inspiration of mine. He will remain so, win or lose. I believe in him and his vision for the country, win or lose. I believe in his vision for our party, win or lose. And I will always carry his unfinished business in my heart, and especially into my own career.

I am proud of Marco Rubio; I am proud of the campaign that he ran; and I am deeply humbled to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. This campaign has touched my heart, and it will not be soon forgotten; it’s impact on me clearly visible for the foreseeable future.

Marco’s message in a divided, negative election year, was one of unity and positivity — realizing that we face challenges, but as Americans, we always rise to the challenge; we always prevail.

I would not have rather stood with any other person in America.

While we didn’t get the ending we wanted, or the conclusion that so many of us fought so hard for, what we did do, is nothing to be ashamed of: we stood up for our values. We defended civility. We stood together and believed in unity. We showed, each and every day, that “Love Will Always Trump Hate.”

And of that; of the fight that we gave; of the America we were standing up to protect; I will be forever proud.