When S.C. Rep. Neal Collins got a fundraising email from Donald Trump's presidential campaign with the subject "Are you still with me?", the Pickens County Republican had an answer for his party's presidential nominee.
With a screenshot of the email attached to each, Collins wrote 22 tweets Thursday night detailing the reasons why he isn't "still with" Trump. Collins realized he could not support Trump just a month into the New York billionaire's presidential campaign, when Trump said U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was a prisoner of war.
One of Collins' uncles was a prisoner of war and was later missing in action during the Vietnam War. Another of Collins' uncles was killed in action in the Korean War. Trump's comment about McCain, for which he never apologized, deeply offended Collins, who supported U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in South Carolina's presidential primary.
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Collins' qualms with Trump are not limited to the candidate's statements on prisoners of war. In the nighttime tweetstorm, Collins cited Trump's previous call for a ban on Muslim immigration, refusal to release his taxes and statement that he had never asked for forgiveness among the 20 reasons he was not "with" Trump. Trump's recently revealed comments about groping and kissing women without consent have also troubled Collins.
The state representative told The Greenville News that he was frustrated at the amount of specific policy details that Trump has released and the potential impacts Trump's candidacy could have on the Republican Party's future.
"There has been very little policy, let alone conservative policy, from our nominee," Collins said. "As a conservative millennial, nothing frustrates me more than a non-conservative baby boomer being my party's nominee. Add on to that his personal attributes and our party is going to suffer for years with women, minorities and youth."
Collins also said he was frustrated with national Republican leadership's handling of Trump's controversy-prone campaign.
"At some leaders in our party need to lead -- I'm speaking mainly on a national level," Collins said. "Silence isn't leadership. Tepid support due to constituent concerns isn't leadership."
Now, faced with Trump at the top of his party's ticket, Collins says he'll either vote for independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin, if he votes for president at all. He may skip the top of the ballot, voting for every office but president.