Trump Has 'Destroyed' the Republican Party, Former Congressman Says

Donald Trump has destroyed the Republican party and polarized American politics, former Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel, who left office in 2017, has said.

During an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis, Rangel said that while he was in office he had friends on both sides of the political aisle and he’s never seen the polarization that’s occurring today.

“It’s a terrible thing that happens because it doesn’t give Americans the opportunity to vote on the issues,” he explained. “It’s for Trump or against Trump.”

While Rangel doesn’t agree with Trump, he told Catsimatidis that having someone in office like the Republican president could be a “blessing” because “Trump has completely destroyed the Republican Party.” The former Congressman said the worst of America has united with Trump and now, good Republicans have nowhere to go.

“Who is the courageous person to say I’d like to restore the Republican Party to the party of [former President Abraham] Lincoln?” Rangel wondered.  

The former congressman explained that if the Republican Party returned to the party of Lincoln, African-Americans would become members because they were “always Republicans” until the former President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the New Deal. Rangel said for African-American voters, the Democratic Party is the “only party” but conceded that the period after the midterm elections could be a turning point.

“I think that there is an opportunity after the midterm election for both parties to reconsider whether they want to sit down and talk for the country or whether they just want to be proud of being against Trump,” he told Catsimatidis.

charles rangel donald trump President Donald Trump speaks at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas on Friday. Former Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel said during a radio interview on Sunday that Trump is "destroying" the Republican Party. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Rangel rejected the idea that Trump will tear America apart, and pointed out that it has survived the revolution, Civil War, Great Depression and the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Both Rangel and Catsimatidis are from Harlem, New York, and have worked to provide educational opportunities to kids growing up in impoverished neighborhoods. Rangel applauded Catsimatidis for his work over the years and explained that implemented educational opportunities across the country is the key to making America a stronger nation.

The conversation turned to former President Barack Obama, which led to a disagreement about the effectiveness of his presidency for the African-American community. However, they contended that the same roadblocks Obama faced with Congress are there for Trump, as well.

Although politics can be draining, the interview ended on an inspirational note with a message to the country from Rangel.

“Don’t you give up on this great country and don’t you let any disappointment you have in politics cause you to give up,” he said. “There’s one thing that’s in that Constitution that says that you have to vote. Some people may try to deny you that right but you fight for it because this country is the greatest country in the world.”  

Rangel was first elected to Congress in 1970 after receiving serving as assistant US attorney for the state of New York and as a member of the New York State Senate. He co-founded and served as chairman for the Congressional Black Caucus and was the first African-American to serve as chairman for the House Ways and Means Committee.

 Before entering politics, he served in the Army and was given the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor. 

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