BEND, Ore. - State Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, was not a fan of candidate Donald Trump to become president – in fact, he called for the Republican nominee’s replacement last October, after video of his remarks about treatment of women came to light.
“My primary concern was his character, temperament, fitness and his lack of experience to perform the duties of president and commander in chief,” Buehler wrote this week.
Still, the lawmaker and orthopedic surgeon – much discussed as a likely 2018 gubernatorial candidate – says he wanted to give the new president time to settle into the job.
In a widely distributed post to one of his Facebook pages Wednesday afternoon, Buehler joined the call for the Justice Department to appoint an independent counsel, or for Congress to create an independent commission to investigate the swirl of allegations that have arisen in recent days surrounding the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
“Being inexperienced, ill-tempered and even incompetent are not crimes, but impeding or obstructing justice is, so we need to fully understand what President Trump has done,” said Buehler, who wrote in Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Oregon’s May primary last year.
The state lawmaker said he “had low expectations, but I wanted our new president to succeed. Unfortunately, his actions during the past six months have made me more concerned, not less.”
Buehler said he’s calling for an independent counsel or panel “so that the American people can learn all the facts of the president’s actions first-hand, not just through media reports. We need to see documents and hear from witnesses. We need to know the truth, regardless of where it takes us. This is the foundation of our democracy, and the credibility of the president and presidency is at stake.”
Buehler said he’s asked “almost daily” his opinions about the president, and instead has tried to focus on his responsibilities as a state lawmaker.
“But the current chaos surrounding the president requires me to speak my mind,” Buehler wrote. “In the end, it will be up to our federal officials of both parties to speak theirs. Because the future of the presidency and our nation is at stake.”
As with most Facebook postings about the president, the reaction has been strong, and split. By Thursday evening, Buehler’s post had close to 200 “likes,” but Facebook doesn’t have a “dislike” button.
“This makes me sick!” one critic said. “Shame on you (and) all Republicans for trying to play the politics game and not standing up against the pathetic acts these Democrats are doing. Good luck on your next race. I don’t vote for cowards.”
Another put it more simply: “Bye Knute.”
But there were others with comments like: “I am personally proud of you…thank you.”
And another wrote: “This is how you survive in Oregon politics. Sigh.”
And another: “Maybe you (should) change your party affiliation, you speak like a Democrat.”