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Retiring GOP Rep. Charlie Dent: New Litmus Test For Republicans Is ‘Trump Loyalty’

Since announcing his plan to retire from the House, it seems Pennsylvania GOP congressman Charlie Dent has a new sense of freedom in airing grievances against his own party, saying Republicans are now too obsessed with “Trump loyalty.”

Though he has never been shy when it comes to speaking up about the ultra conservative wing of the Republican Party, in an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, Dent opened up about his own party.

After Matthews asked about the GOP’s ability to lead while in power, Dent responded:

“I’ll tell you what, the battle prior to Donald Trump was this: We had the purists versus the pragmatists — and the pragmatists were largely the governing wing of the party, of which I was a part. That was the battle, that was the litmus test. Now since Donald Trump has become president, the litmus test is more Trump loyalty — are you loyal enough. But we still have this underlying fight between the pragmatists and the ideologues. In many respects, the ideologues have the upper hand.”

Additionally, Dent told Matthews that his decision to step away from office has been a long time coming — going all the way back to the government shutdown in 2013. The specific date is noteworthy for the moderate politician, as it represented a time when Republican politicians furthest to the right took hold of the party’s reigns, guiding it to a shutdown.

Dent — who co-chairs the Tuesday Group, an informal caucus of moderate Republicans — announced that he would not seek re-election in the 2018 midterm election. Dent isn’t the only one, as other GOP congressmen who will not seek re-election include Dave Trott of Michigan and Dave Reichert of Washington state.

While Dent’s criticisms of his fellow Republicans — and Trump in particular — are nothing new, his vocal critiques toward those on his side have become increasingly straight forward and unvarnished. “I am concerned about the three-headed monster of protectionism, isolationism, and nativism… And sometimes there’s a touch of nihilism in this, too,” said Dent in a recent interview with the New Yorker.

Watch above, via MSNBC.

[image via screengrab]

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