President Trump was “a factor” in centrist Republican Rep. Charlie Dent’s decision to retire from Congress when his term ends next year.
The Pennsylvania congressman told ABC’s “This Week” Trump was not the main reason he decided to retire, but he’s making life a bit harder for Republicans who are in the middle of the political continuum and don’t want to pledge their loyalty to the president.
“I've run for office 13 times. I don't want to spoil a perfect record. I had no serious electoral threat from the Left and no credible threat from the Right,” he said. “I felt it was the right time. I'm young enough and healthy to do something else. There are personal reasons involved, other issues.”
But, he added, “The president has been a factor. It's — I have often said this administration, at times, is taking the fun out of dysfunction. I expect a certain amount of dysfunction. Sometimes you laugh at it. It's not so funny anymore.”
Dent said Washington is now more divided and partisan than it ever has been during his time in Congress, something reflected by the president.
He said he feels like he’s leaving office with the country more divided and he doesn’t see how the current atmosphere in Washington is sustainable.
“I guess the biggest difference is that not only Washington and Congress but the country, generally, is much more polarized than when I first arrived,” he said. “You can make a case it was becoming more and more polarized over several decades. The polarization has reached the point of paralysis. There doesn't seem to be the bipartisan collaboration up front that we need on a lot of big issues.”
He added Washington is “worse off. I just don't see how this is sustainable for the long term. But, I believe things will right themselves sooner or later.”