Prominent GOP Trump Critic to Leave Congress in Coming Weeks
A Pennsylvania Republican known for his vocal opposition to President Donald Trump announced his resignation Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent of Allentown said in a statement that he will "leave Congress in the coming weeks."
Dent said he discussed the decision with his family and thanked his constituents in the Lehigh Valley for allowing him to serve them.
The seven-term Dent has broken with some of the more conservative members of his party several times in his critiques of Trump.
He recently coauthored a bill with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) that would protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from termination, and has urged colleagues to "speak out" against Trump's actions and rhetoric.
"Disorder, chaos, instability, uncertainty, intemperate statements are not conservative virtues in my opinion," Dent told the Associated Press last month.
Dent appeared to confirm an MSNBC report that Trump once informed Dent that he was "destroying the Republican Party" and would be blamed for a potential failure of the tax reform bill.
"I'm not going to deny that," Dent said.
In January, Dent, who previously announced he would not run for re-election, ripped the president for criticizing officials at the FBI, regarding whether some top brass sought to prevent Trump from being elected.
"No, I don’t believe there is an Illuminati at the FBI," he said. "My colleagues ought to cease and desist from some of this rhetoric."
In October 2016, Dent called for the GOP to abandon Trump as its nominee, saying he could not "defend the indefensible" any longer, in the wake of the Billy Bush tape.
Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Wolf (D) praised Dent, saying he appreciated the congressman's efforts to advance the "shared interests" of Pennsylvanians.
In the wake of State Supreme Court-drawn redistricting, the Republican contenders for the seat have been whittled down to two.
Former Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning of Allentown and Olympic gold medal cyclist Marty Nothstein of Lowhill Township are seeking the Republican nomination against several Democratic hopefuls.
"Charlie Dent was one of those handful of Republicans who wasn't always onboard with the president's agenda [and] it wasn't particularly helpful," RNC spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox Business Network.
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