Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said this week he would not attend any future GOP conventions until his party drops partisan rhetoric and returns to the policies that brought them to prominence.
"I will not be attending this year's convention, nor any Republican convention in the future until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States — a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits," Huntsman said in a statement sent to the Salt Lake Tribune.
"I encourage a return to the party we have been in the past from Lincoln right on through to Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics," he added.
The former ambassador to China and Singapore, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and Utah businessman has incited the ire of his party in the past, being uninvited from a March Republican National Committee event in Florida after suggesting American voters deserved a viable third party candidate from which to choose.
But even before March, Huntsman has often found himself on the sideline of GOP party politics. In Republican candidate debates this past year, he came under fire for criticizing policy stances eschewing scientific evidence for climate change and evolution.
"When you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call to question evolution, all I'm saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science," Huntsman said in a September 2011 debate.
Huntsman was also criticized for accepting the position of U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, which he held from 2009 to 2011. Instead of critiques like this, the Republican party should return to a "country first" motto, Huntsman has repeatedly said.
"I was criticized last night by Governor Romney for putting my country first," Huntsman said at a January 2012 debate in New Hampshire when Romney blasted him for working under Obama.
"He criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in China. Yes, under a Democrat. Like my two sons are doing in the United States Navy. They're not asking what political affiliation the president is. I want to be very clear with the people here in New Hampshire and this country: I will always put my country first."
Several Democratic congresspeople vulnerable in their home states will not attend their nominating convention to campaign at home before the general election.
But, Huntsman is the first former Republican presidential candidate to state he will not attend the August GOP nominating convention and the first from either party to do so for ideological reasons.
by RTT Staff Writer
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