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Republican elector refuses to vote for Trump

Christopher Suprun has appealed to his fellow elector's constitutional duty 'vote their conscience.'

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President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the press at Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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A Republican member of the Electoral College from Texas said Monday that he won't cast one of his state's 38 electoral votes for Donald Trump because "I am here to elect a president, not a king."

Dallas paramedic Christopher Suprun previously indicated he would support Mr. Trump. But he now says the president-elect's post-election attacks on the First Amendment and the country's electoral process, as well as the billionaire businessman's continued promotion of his brand and business interests overseas, changed his mind.

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Texas law doesn't mandate that electors vote according to the results of the state's presidential election, which Trump won by nine percentage points over Hillary Clinton. Mr. Suprun and the GOP's other electors signed pledges at the state Republican convention in Dallas this summer promising to vote for their party's nominee, but those aren't legally binding.

"I'm expecting backlash, but that has been par for the course this campaign. People are unhappy. They're angry. But I'm angry, too," said Suprun, who said that prior to changing his mind he had received hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls urging him not to support Trump.

Suprun said the Electoral College system "is fine as it currently exists." His problem is just with its winner.

"I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements," he wrote in an op-ed published Monday in The New York Times. "I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office."

He later expanded on his position in an interview with the Associated Press.

"I was told if we elected Donald Trump he would transform his personality into being presidential. He isn't," Suprun said. "I wanted him to be presidential, but since the election he hasn't grown into our institution, he's attacked them. I am here to elect a president, not a king."

Another Texas Republican elector, Art Sisneros, resigned last week rather than vote for Trump.

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"When running for the Presidential Elector Nominee some six months ago, I had no idea the conflict that would ensue both from without and within," Mr. Sisneros wrote in a blog post explaining his decision, adding that he does not feel that Trump is "biblically qualified" for the position.

Electors will vote to replace Sisneros when they convene Dec. 19 in Austin and in state capitals across the country to vote for president.

Suprun said he was not resigning but also won't be voting for Hillary Clinton.

"I am not sure of who I will vote for, but would have to strongly consider someone like (Ohio Gov. John) Kasich who has both executive and legislative experience bringing people together," he said.

At the end of his Times editorial, Suprun called on other electors to revolt and rally behind a Trump alternative like Kasich.

"The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be."