Sixteen years ago, Diana Robertson decided to get involved with the Republican Party in Wisconsin. She felt like the party’s ideals aligned with what she believed in, and she became active in helping get conservative candidates elected. She worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, helped with her county party and eventually became a staffer to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
But these days, she’s no longer active in the GOP and finds her party’s continued embrace of Donald Trump disgusting.
“We cannot support a man that speaks and acts this way. If we are to ever get back to our country’s founding principles and morals, we need to expect better of our leaders and of ourselves,” Robertson wrote in a blog post on the site RightWisconsin Wednesday.
The recent sexual assault allegations Trump, and his lewd comments about women, are most troubling to Robertson. In 2011, she was sexually assaulted outside a GOP fundraising event by Bill Kramer, who was then a Republican state representative. She told Johnson’s office at the time and had her lawyer send a letter to Kramer, but she did not want to go to the police.
She decided to file a complaint with the police nearly three years later, when she learned that Kramer had assaulted two other women. He was eventually sentenced to five months in jail for fourth-degree sexual assault.
In her blog post Wednesday, Robertson said she became disillusioned with the GOP after seeing the reaction she received from her fellow Republicans after coming forward about her sexual assault:
This is when the GOP and many of its members truly turned their backs on me. I was shunned. My presence was now considered unwelcome. I had many friends turn their backs on me. I had people I thought I could trust saying awful things about me behind my back. I was told that I “asked for it” by what I wore or how friendly I was. I was even asked by a few folks, “Why are you doing this to him?” I went to events and was completely ignored by people who a few weeks earlier would run up to me and give me a warm welcome.
Even to this day there are people who will not look me in the eye or speak to me because of this. In addition, despite the assurances of law enforcement that my name would be kept confidential (as is standard in sexual assault cases) my name was released to the public. I had reporters calling me and even hounding my minor children on their cell phones. I was forced out of a job I loved, because my reputation was now “too damaging” to my boss. The story was all over local radio, newspaper and TV and was even highlighted on CNN. I was publicly embarrassed and every part of my life was in turmoil. All because I had the audacity to come forward and tell the truth about someone hurting me. ...
The GOP (county, state and national) should be ashamed of itself. Ashamed for nominating and supporting the abomination that is Donald Trump... Ashamed for its in-fighting… Ashamed for not staying true to its principles and morals… Ashamed for its continued hypocrisy, socially and fiscally…but mostly they should be ashamed for not strongly and publicly condemning Donald Trump for his words and his behavior.
Robertson left GOP politics in December 2013, when she stepped down from her job with Johnson’s office. In an interview Friday morning with conservative radio host Charlie Sykes, who is a vocal anti-Trumper, Robertson clarified what she meant when she wrote that she was “forced out” of her job.
“There were people peripherally when I worked for the senator that were in charge of fundraising for the campaign who were very influential who decided that this was just all too embarrassing, this was all just too public and I needed to go,” she said. “So they made sure to put the bugs in the right people’s ears to make sure that it happened.”
“So there were some of these friends, other women in the staff, that made you feel so uncomfortable you felt you had to leave?” Sykes asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
Robertson said she resigned voluntarily, and has no hard feelings towards Johnson.
“I really believed in what the senator was doing, and I still do. I really believe he is one of the good guys,” she added.
Johnson ― who is running for reelection against Democrat Russ Feingold ― is still supporting Trump, even after the alleged sexual assault revelations.
“It takes courage to step forward publicly, and I admire Diana’s strength,” Johnson said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “She was a valued member of my staff during her entire time with us, and I continue to support her. Diana and her family are in my prayers.”
“I think people are so hungry for somebody to come in and change the direction of this country ― and I understand that completely ― that they’ve subscribed onto the fact that Donald Trump is going to be our savior. He’s going to be the one that’s going to fundamentally and radically change things for the better,” Robertson said in her interview with Sykes Friday. “But all I see is a man of very flawed character. Basically, a narcissist. And I don’t think he’s the guy to save us. And I don’t think us selling our souls to back him and getting rid of all our conservative values, putting them all aside and going forward with him is the right way to go.”
Although a couple dozen Republican politicians unendorsed Trump after video emerged of him bragging about using his celebrity status to sexually assault women, a few of them have since changed their minds and say they’re still going to support him.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.