Dear Mr. President,
I read with shock and dismay your interview with Breitbart news. In it, you state, "I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of 'Bikers for Trump'-I have tough people, but they don't play it tough-until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."
Mr. President, I am a farm boy from South Dakota. Not used to big city ways of talking, but even I understand the strong implication of control and violence in your words.
Although I was not alive during the rise of Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin, I have heard enough from my elders and read enough history to know that the words you have used are very similar in tone to those used by the three I mentioned above.
Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin rose to power, creating havoc in their own countries, by pitting citizens against each other and killing people who disagreed with them. They nearly destroyed the world as we knew it.
I have less than four years left in my term. As one of the ranking members in the Senate, I have supported the Republican party and you almost all the time.
Obviously, you have taken over the party. We have quietly allowed you to do that.
You will recall, I have publicly said more than once I wish you would stop using Twitter. Others have used much stronger language with the same message.
With the quotes attributed to you in the very conservative Breitbart, I now have to say, I can no longer support your administration.
I have children and grandchildren. Your words are frightening to me. The strong suggestion of violence from The President is unacceptable..
As you know, South Dakota is a very red state. You won here handily in 2016 and Republicans easily won state wide races in 2018. I am well aware that separating myself from you will come with a political price back home and no doubt in Washington.
Your words and actions are taking us in the wrong direction. We are not becoming "great again." We are weakening ourselves in country and our esteem world wide among our allies has taken a huge hit.
I realize you are popular with your base. However, that doesn't mean you are right.
I will stay Republican, I will serve out my term, but I will no longer vote You and Party first. I will vote my country, my children and my grandchildren first. They are much more important to me than going along with your herd.
Finally, Senator John McCain was a friend and mentor to me. We didn't agree all the time but there was and still is mutual respect. I am firmly requesting you stop denigrating his memory. It is beneath the office you hold.
Senator John Thune of South Dakota