Sen. Jim Hendren on Leaving GOP: It Became Clear To Me that the Party of Reagan and Bush Was Gone
HENDREN: "Well, the journey has been unique, I guess, and unexpected. I really had hope after the November elections that we would begin the process of restoring our party back to what you joined and what I joined after I graduated from high school and cast my first presidential vote for Ronald Reagan. And I believe in the same things, less government, strong national defense, restrained government, fiscal responsibility. I don’t know where those things went. I agree with you, Joe. We have become a party about personality, and the events after the election showed that was not going to change, at least in my opinion, in the near future. So, yeah, it was a difficult decision. And it was, again, a process, as I said. The journey — I listened to your segment earlier about foreign policy. I was in the Middle East four times watching those events unhurl from the Air Operations Center in Al Udeid Air Base. I watched my son fly strike missions over Iraq and Syria. And when I saw one phone call from Erdogan to Trump allow us to completely abandon one of the bravest and best allies I have ever seen, some of the best fighters to help us win the fight against ISIS, the Kurds, I went on statewide TV even as an officeholder and still a Republican, and even at that point still a member of the Air National Guard, and said this is just despicable. We do not treat our allies that way. So from that point to overturning an election, it became clear to me that the party of Ronald Reagan and George Bush and the people that I had so much respect for was gone."