Jolly told MSNBC that he had been a member of the GOP since he was “old enough to register to vote” but that becoming a father made him rethink his “associations.”
“The inflection point for both my wife and I ― we both left the party ― was when we found out we were expecting our first child, and obviously you begin to study your associations a little differently,” Jolly said.
“For us, obviously, it was the imprint of Donald Trump on the Republican Party ... his flirtations with misogyny, with race-baiting ― a man of vacuous ideology, little conviction,” he said, explaining his decision to leave the GOP.
Jolly left Congress in January 2017 after nearly three years serving in the House. He has been a longtime outspoken critic of Trump, calling on him to drop out of the presidential race during an impassioned speech on the House floor in 2015.
“I believe he’s wrong for the country and wrong for the party,” Jolly told MSNBC, adding that the GOP had strayed from what he thought had been a commitment to equality in years past.
“We have contributed as Republicans to an economic disparity, to an education disparity, frankly, to a cultural disparity among many of our communities,” he said.
Jolly first announced he had left the Republican Party during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” earlier this month. Though he is not affiliated with any political party at this time, he has said he hopes the Democrats will regain control of the House in the November midterm elections.
“At some point, we get to judge the leadership integrity and the moral fiber of our political leaders, and we get to say, ‘you made a wrong decision, and you need to leave,’” Jolly told host Bill Maher.