A Republican businesswoman who has called Donald Trump a “racist, misogynist flip-flopper” will not get a chance to vote against him this summer at the Republican National Convention, D.C. party officials say.
D.C. GOP leaders voted not to certify the election of Rina Shah Bharara as a convention delegate after they said they discovered that she lives in Virginia, not the District — a violation of party rules.
But in an interview Tuesday, Bharara fired back, saying she offered the party proof that she’s a D.C. resident, and she vowed to go to Cleveland for this summer’s convention anyway.
“This is all Trump-driven. They are searching for anything to get rid of me,” Bharara said. “I have not been dishonest; it’s actually the D.C. party that is overstepping its authority. . . . I was elected, and I’m going to Cleveland.”
The investigation into Bharara’s eligibility to be a Republican delegate was launched after Breitbart.com, a conservative media outlet and one of the earliest chroniclers of Trump’s long-shot bid for the presidency, reviewed Bharara’s property records and her Instagram account, finding pictures of a home she says she co-owns in Virginia.
Bharara became a lightning rod for conservative commentators last month after she said in an appearance on Fox News that she would consider voting for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump should the New York billionaire become the party’s nominee.
Bharara says that she took that stance to draw attention to what she considers Trump’s dangerous positions but that it uncapped turmoil within the D.C. GOP about what to do if Trump becomes the nominee.
Bharara’s favored candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), won the D.C. Republican primary before he withdrew from the race. Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in second. Trump did not win any delegates in the District.
But Trump’s string of victories in other primaries has put him within striking distance of the party’s nomination, diminishing the role of anti-Trump delegates such as Bharara.
“This is about Trump supporters, and I can’t believe they are winning,” Bharara said.
Bharara is the founder of a political consultancy, Rilax Strategies, which operates out of a Navy Yard condominium she bought with her father in 2011 and where she said she resides.
She campaigned for a spot as an RNC delegate with a sign at the D.C. party’s March convention that read: “Vote for a Daughter of Immigrants — Rina Shah — New Mother, Millennial, Entrepreneur, DC Resident of 10+ years.”
Two party officials with knowledge of the issue said a Trump supporter lodged a complaint about Bharara’s residency. The GOP’s executive committee voted 3 to 1 to oust her after reviewing property records that showed she owns the home in Reston, about 20 miles outside the District. The committee also reviewed records showing that her business address in the District is owned by her father, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe party actions.
In a statement, Patrick Mara, executive director of the D.C. Republican Party, said party leaders recommended against allowing Bharara to keep her title as delegate “based on evidence that she is not a resident of the District of Columbia.”
Bharara provided The Washington Post with a copy of a legal affidavit she gave the party showing that she is responsible for property taxes and pays utilities at the Navy Yard site, and that she has a D.C. driver’s license and is registered to vote in the city.
Bharara had lamented Rubio’s withdrawal from the GOP field on Twitter and other social media, saying after he left the race that she felt “sucker punched.”
By the middle of last month, Bharara had vowed to use her vote to try to stop Trump. She was touted by the Never Trump movement, appeared on national radio and television broadcasts, and began fiercely criticizing Trump’s comments on immigrants and women.
“.@realDonaldTrump is not a real Republican. So, he’ll never get my vote. He is a racist, misogynist flip-flopper. Wake up #USA! #NeverTrump,” Bharara said in a Twitter message.
In another post, she wrote: “@ GOPconvention, I’ll do right 4 GOP voters of #WashingtonDC. I’m w/Rubio 1st ballot & want 2 elect some1 who CAN beat Hillary. Trump cannot.”
Breitbart, which reported Bharara’s ouster last week, published emails showing what may be an effort by the D.C. GOP to rally around Trump if he gets close to the threshold of delegates needed to win the nomination.
Mara, the party’s executive director, said Bharara’s replacement would be one of two alternates. Bharara said she would fight the decision.
After appearing last month on Fox News, Bharara became a pariah to conservatives. She said she had “tinkered” with the idea of voting for Clinton if Trump becomes the party’s nominee.
“I’ve thought about this,” Bharara said. “. . . I’ve been called a Democrat; I’ve been called a Republican in Name Only. But the truth of the matter is, I know what I’m getting with Clintonian policies. I don’t know what I’m getting with Donald Trump — he’s seriously too far off the deep end for me.”