Former Rep. Paul Mitchell, who left GOP over Trump, dies at 64

The one-time member of House Republican management and former businessperson was generally known as a colourful and gregarious determine in Congress, although his former colleagues distanced themselves from him over his renouncement and elevated criticisms of the GOP efforts to sow doubt about Joe Biden’s presidential win.

Those identical remarks, nonetheless, received him reward from the opposite wing of the the occasion, which has condemned Trump as a hazard to the Republican occasion.

Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), a detailed good friend of Mitchell’s and a fellow Trump critic, instructed POLITICO in a phone interview Mitchell had turn into “isolated” from many individuals who had as soon as been mates with him after he left the GOP, however he remembered the Michigander as a “true friend.”

“He’s been a friend through thick and thin, and his own courage in trying to confront some of the things in the party that had gone sideways … I think it just shows what kind of public servant he was,” Riggleman mentioned.

Mitchell introduced his retirement from Congress in July 2019 and disaffiliated from the Republican Party in December of final yr.

“I have stated publicly numerous times that when entering the political arena, a person must be willing to accept winning and losing with grace and maturity,” he mentioned in a letter to House Republican management on his determination. Mitchell mentioned he had feared the “long-term harm to our democracy” from the rallies aimed at selling election fraud claims.

Mitchell left his spot in management previous to his retirement, nominating Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) to take his spot as sophomore class president after asserting his plans for departure.

While Mitchell’s criticism of Trump grew as he neared retirement, his public condemnations elevated in frequency — and began to incorporate lots of his former colleagues — after he left workplace. He usually tweeted denunciations of Trump’s baseless fraud claims and harshly condemned Republican lawmakers’ rhetoric.

His household’s assertion mentioned they wished others to respect their privateness at this time and they’d not maintain a public funeral. He leaves behind his spouse, six youngsters and 6 grandchildren.

Mitchell’s former colleagues on each side of the aisle shared their condolences.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), mentioned Mitchell had been one in every of her first mates in Congress, calling him “an incredibly decent and compassionate person.” And Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who leads House Republicans’ marketing campaign arm, praised him as a “good friend and a great leader.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the dean of Michigan’s congressional delegation, said Mitchell “was a trooper to the very end” who was “always ready to fight on principle and was never afraid of the politics.”

Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.

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