Wednesday, July 13, 2016

NJ GOP icon, Tom Kean, is skipping Trump's convention

   Gov. Thomas Kean giving the keynote address at the 1988 GOP convention.













He is widely regarded by Republicans and Democrats as a bipartisan unifier and one of America’s most respected moderate voices on race, education, the economy and terrorism. But, for the first time in 52 years, former Gov. Tom Kean is skipping the Republican National Convention.


Mike Kelly reports today in The Record:


Kean said he harbored too many differences with the immigration and economic policies of the presumptive GOP nominee for president – Donald Trump.

Kean joins other Republican luminaries, like former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman, who are skipping the four-day GOP fest next week in Cleveland.

But Kean’s absence is particularly significant. He was often seen as someone who could find common ground with all factions.

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In an interview in which he reflected on his half-century in GOP politics, Kean, who won praise in 2004 for his evenhanded chairmanship of the 9/11 Commission and is cited in polls as New Jersey’s most popular governor, said he was so disillusioned with Trump and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, that he might not vote for president.

Kean, 81, said that he had met Trump and Clinton over the years and that he liked them personally. But as politicians, he said, he finds both lacking.

He views Trump as a loose cannon who should “listen to people and stop tweeting at 11 o’clock at night.” He says Clinton has a “good heart,” but is “so contrived that it comes across as phony.”

“I’d like to support the nominee of my party but I really don’t know,” Kean said, in an hour-long phone call from his office in Far Hills. “If it comes to the point where you disagree on too many issues, you can’t vote for him.”

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