Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A Michigan congressman said Monday he was leaving the Republican Party, blaming President Trump and fellow Republicans for refusing to accept election results causing him to fear "long-term harm to our democracy."
Paul Mitchell, a Republican representative whose 10th District covers the "thumb" of Michigan north of Detroit, announced on Twitter that he was "disaffiliating" from the party.
"I have stated publicly numerous times that when entering the political arena, a person must be willing to accept winning and losing with grace and maturity. Having personally experienced both winning and losing, the latter can be brutal," the two-term member said in a letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Trump lost to Biden by 7 million votes in the Nov. 3 election. The Electoral College certified Biden's 306 electoral votes Monday to Trump's 232 votes. The winning candidate needed at least 270 electoral votes.
"It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote," Mitchell said Monday.
"Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that 'the Court failed him.' It was our Founding Fathers' objective to insulate the Supreme Court from such blatant political motivations."
Mitchell said he was disappointed in "leadership of the Republican Party and our Republican Conference in the House" for "actively participating" in President Trump's so-called Stop the Steal campaign and challenges to overturn the election. "I fear long-term harm to our democracy," Mitchell said.
"As elected members of Congress, we take an oath to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States,' not to preserve and protect the political interests of any individual, be it the president or anyone else, to the detriment of our cherished nation," Mitchell added.
The congressman said he would ask the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives change his party affiliation to "Independent."
On Monday, Michigan electoral delegates met in the locked-down statehouse building in Lansing to officially certify the state's 16 electoral votes to Joe Biden, who won the state by 154,000 votes.
Some protesting Republican electors tried to disrupt the proceedings, but were stopped from entering by Michigan State Police.