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 Chris Suprun had previously indicated he would support Trump. But what he calls 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, has changed his mind.
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.
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.
"People are unhappy. They're angry. But I'm angry, too," said Suprun, who noted that prior to changing his mind he had received hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls urging him not to support Trump.
"I'm expecting backlash," he said, "But that has been par for the course this campaign."
Suprun said the Electoral College system "is fine as it currently exists."
His problem is with its winner.
"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. 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 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.
Suprun said he was waiting to see if other electors will revolt and rally behind a Trump alternative like Kasich.
"I'm looking for someone we can all unify behind," he said.
Trump won 306 electoral votes in November's election. Two hundred and seventy votes are all that is needed for victory, so another 35 electors would have to join Suprun by Dec. 19, when the College convenes, to temporarily thwart's Trump's win.
If that were to happen and no candidate receives a majority, the election then goes to the House of Representatives, where each state's delegation votes collectively for a candidate.
A majority of state delegations are controlled by Republicans, meaning Trump could be elected anyway even if the Electoral College does not.