Hawaiian Republican Leader Rep. Beth Fukumoto has officially announced her decision to leave the GOP. Fukumoto cited racism, sexism and xenophobia in the Republican party as the driving forces behind her decision.
Fukumoto said that when she joined the Republican party eight years ago, it was to add diversity to the party and change the status quo. She served as Hawaii House minority leader from 2014 to early 2017, and was considering a rising star in Republican circles. However, she faced severe criticism from her Republican peers for participating in the Women’s March on Honolulu on Jan. 21, where she spoke out against the bigoted rhetoric and actions of Donald Trump. Since then, it seemed likely Fukumoto would move away from the GOP. Now, in a letter to the Hawaiian Republican Party, Fukumoto has announced her official departure from the party.
“This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women,” she wrote. “So, when I listened as our now top office holder refused to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, speaking out didn’t seem like a choice.” Fukumoto also posted a YouTube video explaining her decision to join the party in the first place, and her subsequence regrets and misconceptions about the GOP. She now plans to try and join the Democratic party. “I’ve found significant common ground with my Democratic colleagues. Enough common ground that I believe that we can fit comfortably in the same tent,” said Fukumoto. “Democrats that want to change the status quo in Hawaii are still fighting to do it, and I want to help them.”
Will anti-Trump Republicans follow Fukumoto’s lead? We can only hope so. You can watch Fukumoto’s departure announcement video below, as well as the video of her speaking at the Women’s March on Honolulu.