OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Senator John McCollister said he first saw the Republican party enabling white supremacy after Charlottesville in 2017. But decided to speak up after what happened in El Paso over the weekend.
"I've been unhappy with the GOP for some time, the GOP I think has lost its moring and actually Donald Trump has hijacked the Republican Party as far as I'm concerned,” says state senator John McCollister.
In a series of Tweets this week, McCollister said the Republican Party is complicit to obvious racist and immoral activity and that President Trump stokes racist fears to his base.
"My real issue is with some of the republican office holders, if not all, where they don't at least go after the president and call issue with the president,” says McCollister.
Executive Director of the Nebraska GOP Ryan Hamilton who says the party is the same as it was before President Trump.
"He's not re-writing the Republican party core platform in any meaningful way that I can see. We're still low tax, we're still pro-second amendment, we're still pro-life,” says Hamilton.
He tells McCollister to leave the party for the Democrats.
“If Mr. McCollister thinks we're actively enabling white supremacy than perhaps that he should tell the truth to the voters in the district about how he feels and register as a Democrat,” says Hamilton.
McCollister says he has better platform to call out the GOP as a Republican.
"I'll never say never but I just don't see it at this time,” says McCollister.
The state party says they've had concerns for while about McCollister. He has often voted to override vetoes from Governor Pete Ricketts. He has voted against anti-abortion legislation and advocates for medicaid expansion and climate change.
"I'm in a non-partisan legislature and so I feel like I can vote my conscience rather than worry about any kind of party loyalty,” says McCollister.
He also says the state GOP has too much influence over its members in a unicameral that's supposed to be non-partisan.
"The governor has influence with four, five or six senators and that's unfortunate because here's a person that goes door-to-door, knocks on thousands of doors, and comes down and loses his independence."
The senator hopes speaking up doesn't affect his relationships with state senators and Governor Ricketts when they get back to work next year.
"I hope that's not the case, I don't know about the governor, whether he's going to be easy to work with."
McCollister says he's gotten thousands of emails since the tweets, with 95 percent of them being in support of his position.