WEST CHESTER – Mike Parrish, Democratic nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Sixth District, questioned his Republican opponent, incumbent Rep. Ryan Costello, after Costello announced his own support for presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, Costello said he would support Donald Trump for President, and a Costello aide told the Philadelphia Inquirer it was “vital” for Republicans to win in November.

In a statement, Mike Parrish said:

By supporting Donald Trump, who has waged his entire campaign based on racism, sexism and xenophobia, advocated for stifling constitutional rights like the right to free speech, advanced the idea of expanding torture as a normal way of doing business for our nation, and demonstrated little to no understanding of foreign or domestic policy, Ryan Costello is supporting his policies too.

The policies put forth by Mr. Trump are so bad that former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who won the Sixth District in 2012, said, “His (Donald Trump’s) domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policy would make America and the world less safe.”

By supporting Mr. Trump, my opponent has shown that he lacks leadership and does not have the courage to stand up to extremism and stand with the majority of his constituents in the 6th District including moderate Republicans (many of whom supported John Kasich), Independents and Democrats.

Time after time, Mr. Costello has rolled over for his party leadership and the special interests who fund his campaigns. For instance, my opponent made much of his support for environmental protection and the preservation of open space, which are priorities we all share. However, he voted repeatedly to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline, which represents a significant threat to the environment and does nothing to advance other priorities like investing in renewable energy and the 21st Century infrastructure we need to create jobs, strengthen the economy and increase national security.

Donald Trump is a dangerous threat to the freedoms that are fundamental to being American. Ryan Costello has apparently forgotten that America is the land of freedom and opportunity where all Americans are free to live as they choose, worship as they choose, and seek to build better lives for themselves and their families without the government restricting those freedoms. Building walls, discriminating against women and minorities, and targeting Americans based on their faith is un-American and violates our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My opponent should be fighting against Trump’s brand of extremism, not embracing it.  

As a West Point graduate and Army veteran, I, like so many in our community, fought to defend our freedoms and the Constitution that Mr. Trump treats with casual contempt. As a candidate for Congress who understands that real leadership is about selfless service and not political self-interest, I am proud to stand with our community and against extremism. In Congress, I will continue to stand up to extremists, regardless of party, and keep service to our country and community as my guiding principles. 

This is not about party loyalty, it is about the future of our country. Republican leaders from across the country have already stepped forward and denounced Donald Trump as their party’s nominee. By failing to join them, Mr. Costello has failed all of us. As a nation, we can do better than Donald Trump, and as a community, we can do better than Ryan Costello and his blind support for a bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobe.