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College Republicans in NM denounce Trump

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

Republican nominee for President Donald Trump’s recent boasts about kissing and groping women without their consent have caused many to disavow the self-described billionaire reality star turned politician, including New Mexico’s college Republicans.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the New Mexico College Republicans said they’re dumping Trump and instead will support Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian candidate for president.

The story is the same for college Republicans at the University of New Mexico, according to the group’s president Ryan Ansloan. Additionally, the college students called out Trump’s comments unearthed by the Washington Post on Friday.

“The Oval Office is no place for a vulgar and classless individual,” they said in a statement released Saturday. “The leader of the free world is someone that young girls and boys from all over the country look to for leadership and maturity. The American president should be a role model, a leader, not someone who would bring shame and embarrassment to our country.”

The statement also said Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president.

The New Mexico College Republicans have a presence at UNM, New Mexico State University, Highlands University and Eastern New Mexico University, with about 100 members. Trump’s campaign in New Mexico didn’t return a reporter’s call by deadline.

The students are just the latest to distance themselves from Trump following his comments. Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez disavowed Trump over the weekend, joining a stream of conservative officials who have abandoned their party’s nominee.

And on Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he will no longer defend Trump and instead will focus on races down the ticket.

Michael Aguilar, the chairman of the New Mexico College Republicans, said it’s never easy being a Republican in the traditional left-leaning college campus environment, but this election cycle with Trump as the standard-bearer has made it even harder to recruit. And Aguilar, 21, a recent graduate of UNM living in Las Cruces, said he hopes the group’s disavowal sends a clear message.

“We don’t agree with the hateful rhetoric Trump is known for,” Aguilar said.

He said committee members who made the anti-Trump decision unanimously supported the move to endorse Johnson over Trump.

Some Republicans have called for Trump to step down and let his vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence, run instead. Aguilar said he also dislikes Pence and would still vote for Johnson if Pence led the ticket.

Johnson, who was a Republican as New Mexico’s governor from 1995 to 2003, is a better choice given his political history, Aguilar argued.

To say the least, Aguilar said, he feels isolated by the current GOP. And he said he’s aware that the decision to disavow Trump will anger traditionalist GOP members who would argue they should fall in line.

“We just feel that’s not right, and we’re not going to do it,” Aguilar said.