The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Her GOP group endorsed Trump, so she resigned. She wouldn’t be able to ‘look her children in the eye.'

Jennifer Horn speaks in January 2016, as then-chair of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee in Nashua. (Matt Rourke/AP)
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Jennifer Horn was pushed right up to a line she swore she would never cross. Her GOP organization, where she sat on the board for several years, had just endorsed President Trump for reelection, something she says she would never do herself. Faced with the thought of having to explain that decision to her children in the future, she chose to resign instead.

Horn sent a letter to the chair and vice chair of the Log Cabin Republicans, a national LGBTQ organization, on Monday after the group announced its endorsement of Trump. In a Thursday op-ed in The Washington Post, LCR chair Robert Kabel and vice-chair Jill Homan announced their endorsement, praising Trump for his “commitments to the United States, including taking bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.”

Kabel and Homan pointed out his desire “to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years,” and his international efforts to “end the criminalization of homosexuality.” They also cited multiple economic initiatives, such as his tax cuts, that they said have benefited LGBTQ families and businesses.

But Horn told The Post she made the decision long ago that she would never endorse Trump. And so when the board of the Log Cabin Republicans voted to publicly endorse his campaign, she knew she had to resign.

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“There is no world where I can sit down at the dining room table and explain to my children that I just endorsed Donald Trump for president,” Horn said. “It is contrary to everything that I have ever taught them about what it means to be a good, decent, principled member of society.”

In a letter to Kabel and Homan, Horn said Trump’s “regular verbal assaults against women, immigrants, elected members of Congress, party members who do not agree with him on policy or principle and his willingness to stoke racial anger and unrest in order to advance his own political ambitions all subvert the founding principles of our great nation.”

She additionally noted the administration’s “efforts to roll back civil rights protections through the DOJ,” as well as policy decisions at Housing and Urban Development and the Labor Department, as reasons for her resignation.

Horn said that she was initially disappointed by Trump while she was the chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party in 2016, before she joined the Log Cabin Republicans. In the letter, Horn said that Trump, as the party’s presidential nominee, had the opportunity to “remove language that advocates against equal rights for LGBTQ people” in the party’s platform but “chose not to in fear of angering those who would deny the right to marry to all Americans.”

It was during that time, when Horn publicly called for the removal of such language from the state and national platform, that she was recruited to join the LCR board, Horn said. She saw the group as a “principled organization” and wanted to become part of it. Horn said that before she joined the board, the group had declined to endorse Trump’s 2016 bid for president. The group endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.

In an email statement, Charles T. Moran, an LCR spokesman, thanked Horn for her service.

“We understand the challenging place this [endorsement] put her in since she recently served as Bill Weld’s campaign manager,” Moran said.

Trump touted his endorsement from the group when asked by reporters about his LGBT record in the oval office on Tuesday.

“I was very honored to receive it,” he said. “Some of my biggest supporters are of that community. And I think they — and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community.”

President Trump on Aug. 20 said he has done “very well” with the LGBTQ community. (Video: The Washington Post)

Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, is a Republican “never-Trumper” who recently announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination. He is currently the only person who has announced a primary challenge to the president. Horn served as his campaign manager from April to June.

Horn and a small group of board members did not support the endorsement, she said. She is the first one to publicly announce her resignation.

“I think that the effort to offer a Republican voice that is contrary to the president is an important one, not just to the party but for our country,” Horn said. “People have to know, our party is dying because of the silence of those who oppose this president.”

Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.

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