A former congressman known best for leaving the GOP after the party threw its support behind Donald Trump following the 2020 presidential election has died, The Detroit News reported Monday.
According to the outlet, former U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell died Sunday after being treated for renal cancer. He was 64.
Taking on Trump
According to The Hill, Mitchell served two terms in Congress after first winning his seat in 2016, and worked closely with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) up until 2020, when he opted not to run for re-election.
Soon after, he made the surprise move of leaving the Republican Party to become an independent, citing the GOP’s ongoing support of Trump following his November 2020 loss.
“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,” Rep. Mitchell said in a statement at the time, according to The Hill.
Leftists pay tribune
According to The Detroit News, leftists including CNN’s Jake Tapper paid tribute to the late congressman after news broke of his death.
Tapper shared a thread of photos of Mitchell with family members alongside a statement from the lawmaker’s wife, Sherry.
RIP former Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan, a Republican turned independent who died yesterday from cancer. Statement from wife Sherry below, along with photo of the couple, and the former congressman with son Luke. pic.twitter.com/JxWedQL3HP
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 16, 2021
Mitchell was also remembered fondly by Rep. Denver Riggleman, a Virginia Democrat. “He’s been a friend through thick and thin, and his own courage in trying to confront some of the things in the party that had gone sideways,” Riggleman told Politico. “I think it just shows what kind of public servant he was.”
Family looks back
“Paul was an American,” the late congressman’s wife said in her statement. “He was the embodiment of what we can be if we choose to love and fight for what matters.”
She also indicated in her statement that there would be no public funeral for the congressman.
Rep. Mitchell is survived by his wife and six children, as well as six grandchildren, The Hill reported.