Steve Schmidt, a longtime GOP strategist who served as senior campaign adviser to Sen. John McCain in his 2008 bid for president, renounced his membership to the Republican Party on Wednesday, calling his former party “a danger to our democracy and values.”
"It is fully the party of Trump," Schmidt wrote in a Twitter thread. "It is corrupt, indecent and immoral."
Schmidt, a Republican for 29 years, savaged the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in children and infants being separated from their parents by federal agents at the southern border.
He compared the policy to "the worst abuses of humanity" in US history, likening it to slavery and the separation of Native American families.
"It is immoral and must be repudiated. Our country is in trouble. Our politics are badly broken," he wrote.
Schmidt, who previously served in the George W. Bush administration and the National Republican Congressional Committee, said independent voters must turn to the Democrats as "the only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies."
"Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values," he wrote.
Schmidt was a key figure in the 2008 campaign tell-all book Game Change, adapted into a movie by HBO in which he was portrayed by Woody Harrelson. He was depicted as having pushed McCain to pick Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate, though swiftly regretting his choice.
McCain, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, has also condemned the Trump policy, calling it "an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded."
"The administration has the power to rescind this policy," he wrote. "It should do so now."
In another late-night Twitter denunciation from a member of Trump's own party, the Republican lieutenant governor of Utah also railed against the border separation policy.
"Some in my party are doing and supporting things I never thought possible," wrote Spencer Cox. "You won’t believe me, but your party is capable of it too. We get what we deserve. If we want change, we have to change ourselves."
Cox said he was having trouble sleeping and was angry and sad.
"I hate what we’ve become. My wife wants to go & hold babies & read to lonely/scared/sad kids. I want to punch someone," he said.
He urged people to turn off cable news; stop engaging with political posts on Facebook; run for office; and "get to know, listen to & love someone different."
"I know, I’m breaking the 'never tweet when angry/tired rules,'" Cox wrote. "I’ll probably delete by morning. Don’t @ me. Hopefully I can sleep now."