Former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle: ‘I will no longer claim I am a Republican’ after Capitol riots

Jim Nussle, an eight-term former Iowa congressman, tweeted Wednesday that he can no longer claim he is a member of the Republican Party following a siege on the U.S. Capitol by rioters hoping to thwart the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

“I will no longer claim I am a Republican tonight as I am outraged and devastated by the actions of too many elected Republicans (some I know and served with) and supporters,” he wrote on Twitter. “Today a final line was crossed that I will not excuse. The GOP is NO more and left me and others behind.” 

Nussle represented Iowa’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 until 2003 and then its 1st District from 2003 to 2007. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 2006 and later served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Republican President George W. Bush.

He gained national attention during the 1991 House banking scandal for beginning a House speech with a paper bag over his head

“It is time to take the mask off this institution,” he said on the House floor. “It is time to bring some honor back to this institution.”

Nussle’s most recent comments come at a critical moment for American democracy and for the Republican Party.

Supporters of outgoing Republican President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday seeking to disrupt a joint session of Congress where lawmakers were debating whether to accept the Electoral College votes showing Democrat Joe Biden as the nation’s president-elect. 

The mob, egged on by the president, overran Capitol security and breeched the walls of the Capitol where they hoisted Trump flags. 

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Many Republicans condemned the violent protests, though fewer criticized the president himself. Among the sitting congressional Republicans who had the harshest condemnation of the situation was U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. 

“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States,” he said in a statement. “Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”

Iowa Republicans have been slow to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory over Trump. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds did so for the first time Thursday during a legislative forum with Iowa media. 

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She condemned the violence at the Capitol and said perpetrators should be prosecuted to the law’s fullest extent. 

“We need to stop the rhetoric and we need to sit at the table and we need to have constructive conversations,” Reynolds said. “And you know, part of that is putting the phone down, getting off social media and really figuring out how we can come to the table and work together.”

Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at bpfann@dmreg.com or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.