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Donald Trump campaigns in New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton raises money in Manhattan.

  • Donald Trump says he respects women, disparaging remarks notwithstanding.
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  • A scathing letter by former lawmakers urges fellow Republicans to reject Trump.
  • Bygones? House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to campaign with Trump in Wisconsin.

More than 30 former GOP members of Congress oppose Donald Trump, call his candidacy 'disgraceful'

More than 30 former Republican members of Congress issued a scathing open letter Thursday announcing their opposition to Donald Trump and urging fellow Republicans to deny him the White House.

The group recants the GOP presidential candidate's long list of insults and "lies," and said his "disgraceful candidacy is indefensible."

"As Republican members of Congress, we took pride in representing a political party that stood for honest and principled public leadership in which the American people could place their trust," they wrote in an open letter.

"Sadly, our party's nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress."

The group includes key swing state figures, and is the largest showing of one-time GOP officials refusing to back the party's presidential nominee this year.

Among those signing are Pennsylvania's former Rep. Bill Clinger, who was chairman of the House Oversight Committee that investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton in "Travelgate" and other issues during the Clinton administration. 

Also on the list are former Iowa Rep. Jim Leach, former Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri and former Virginia Rep. G. William Whitehurst, all from battleground states.

Three former California Republican lawmakers, Reps. Tom Campbell, Steve Kuykendall, and Pete McCloskey also signed.

"In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges," they wrote.

"He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country.  Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation."

The group went on: "It is in that spirit that, as Donald Trump's unfitness for public office has become ever more apparent, we urge our fellow Republicans not to vote for this man whose disgraceful candidacy is indefensible."

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