Republican voter warns of embracing Trumpism: 'Greatest danger to this country'

On Don Lemon Tonight Thursday, Lemon aired a segment, in which CNN assembled a group of people of varying political ideologies to discuss President Biden’s Wednesday town hall. And one participant stood out from the rest. Phil Heimlich, a Republican who voted for Biden, aired plenty of grievances about former President Donald Trump, and the disturbing behavior he’s seen from those representing his party.

Heimlich’s first order of contention was with the fact that so many Republican lawmakers are trying to whitewash the reality of the violent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“When people in my party, the Republican Party, accommodate or refuse to criticize those who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Heimlich said, “you can't turn around and then talk about being tough on crime. I think it's shameful that so many people in my party are excusing what happened on Jan. 6.”

Heimlich also railed against Republicans who still won’t admit that Trump lost the election, and the multitude of voter suppression bills that have been introduced by Republican state legislatures around the country.

“There are too many Republicans today that don’t have the guts to speak out against the big lie,” Heimlich said. “It’s cowardice.”

“I think the greatest danger to this country right now is Trumpism, more so than any policy."Phil Heimlich

Heimlich later segued from voter suppression on the part of Republicans to Trump’s alarming affinity for dictators, drawing a link between the two.

“Nobody should be surprised, by the way, about these attacks on voting and voter suppression, because look what happened when Trump was in office,” Heimlich said. “What did he do? He praised dictators like Erdogan in Turkey, and Putin, and Duterte in the Philippines. He praised brutal dictators. So who does he look up to?”

Heimlich went on to speak of the dangers of his party embracing the former president’s politics.

“I think the greatest danger to this country right now is Trumpism, more so than any policy,” Heimlich said. “And if they're able to suppress the vote, whatever policy you care about, if they're able to attack our rule of law, and we become one of these countries like Turkey and others that have really become right-wing — be really dictatorships, it doesn't matter what you stand for. So I think all of us, Republicans and Democrats, have to make the decision we're going to put country ahead of party.”

Don Lemon Tonight airs weeknights at 10 p.m. on CNN.

Check out the new audio of Trump on the January 6 insurrectionists: 'What I wanted is what they wanted':

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