Sen. Mark Kirk is mulling his options on who to back in November’s presidential election after he made it clear Tuesday he would not support presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
According to the Kirk campaign, the senator is considering former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Both choices would be write-in options because neither are running for president.
Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, resigned from his post as the CIA’s Director in 2012 following a scandal stemming from an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, the principal author of his biography.
In 2015, Petraeus pled guilty in federal court to a charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information for providing classified information to Broadwell. He was sentenced to two years’ probation plus a fine of $100,000 in April of 2015.
Powell, who is also a retired four-star Army general, served as Secretary of State during George W. Bush’s first-term in office as president. He served in that capacity during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The choices make sense, given Kirk’s military experience. The senator served in the United States Naval Reserve, retiring in 2013 after attaining the rank of Commander.
Kirk’s decision not to back Trump comes on the heels of the billionaire’s statements about the heritage of a Hispanic judge presiding over civil fraud lawsuits against his beleaguered Trump University. In a Tuesday statement, Kirk called the comments “un-American.”
“As the Presidential campaign progressed, I was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and reflect a campaign that was inclusive, thoughtful and principled,” Kirk said in a statement. “While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump's latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party's nominee for President regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party.”
Trump has argued his comments were "misconstrued."