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Establishment Republicans Who Snubbed Donald Trump at the 2016 RNC

Updated September 18, 2019 1.2k votes 182 voters 25.8k views19 items

List RulesPolitics junkies: vote up the most shocking 2016 RNC Donald Trump snubs.

Even before the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) began in Cleveland, OH, there were dissenters in the Republican ranks, those who explicitly stated they wouldn’t be attending. These RNC 2016 snubs oscillate wildly from ex-presidents to senators and former governors who’ve all but given up on democracy. The list of establishment Republicans absent from the 2016 RNC is frankly shocking, as many of these people carried the GOP for the past 20 to 30 years. 

Some Republicans not attending the convention have perfectly valid reasons for why they can’t make it to Cleveland. The rest of the GOP absentees are up to something else - one seems to be setting up a second career as a comedian; another has dumpster fires to check out; many want to distance themselves as much as possible from Trump. Keep reading for a handy primer on establishment Republicans who snubbed Donald Trump at the 2016 RNC.

One of the biggest coups for GOP members boycotting the convention is the absence of the Bush family. A Bush not attending the RNC is like Big Bird not showing up on Sesame Street, and makes the convention seem a bit like a ship without a captain. To make matters worse, many of the guest speakers scheduled to talk in Cleveland have nothing to do with politics - Scott Baio, for instance.

Only time will tell whether this psychedelic media circus of an RNC proves to be an aberration of the new direction of the GOP. In the mean time, take a look at the most shocking no-shows for the 2016 Republican National Convention, and vote up those that most surprise you. 

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  • John McCain
    Photo: Kris Connor / Getty Images

    Of all major establishment Republicans, John McCain seems most likely to win the title of the anti-Trump. Imagine a world in which he took the stage at the convention to argue for his brand of conservatism, especially after Trump lambasted McCain's service in Vietnam, during which the Senator was tortured.

    “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.

    Alas, McCain stayed in Arizona during the RNC, to focus on his own race. When asked if thought the presumptive Republican nominee could drag down the rest of the party with him, McCain simply answered, "That’s always a concern."
    • Birthplace: Coco Solo
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Party (if partisan): Republican Party
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  • Jeb Bush
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain

    After carrying himself with the guarded professionalism of a career politician for most of the election cycle, Jeb Bush unleashed a vitriol-fueled op-ed on Trump one day before the convention, writing, "[Frustration with American politics] have given rise to the success of a candidate who continues to grotesquely manipulate the deeply felt anger of many Americans. Trump's abrasive, Know Nothing-like nativist rhetoric has blocked out sober discourse about how to tackle America's big challenges."

    He finished his screed with a major revelation - "I haven't decided how I'll vote in November -- whether I'll support the Libertarian ticket or write in a candidate."

    In 2012, Jeb was a key speaker at the RNC. 

    • Birthplace: Midland, Texas, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
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  • Mitt Romney emerged from the 2012 Republican National Convention as his party's nominee. In 2016, he didn't even bother to show up. When CNN asked one of his aides about Romney's absence, they simply said he couldn't make it. This excuse sounds suspicious after Romney went on the warpath in spring 2016, when Trump emerged as the front runner in the Republican primary, saying, "Here's what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat."
    • Birthplace: Area code 313, Metro Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, Contiguous United States
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Party (if partisan): Republican Party
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    Ben Sasse

    Ben Sasse
    Photo: US Congress
    Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse told The Hill that rather than attending the RNC in Cleveland he "will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners." Even better, that isn't the first time Sasse compared Trump to a dumpster fire. The Orange One might need some aloe for that burn. 
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