Hawaii GOP lawmaker Beth Fukumoto breaks with party over treatment of women, minorities

Hawaii State Rep. Beth Fukumoto resigned from the Republican Party on Wednesday, saying her party's treatment of minorities and women is unacceptable.

Fukumoto, who was removed from her post as Hawaii's House minority leader in January after criticizing President Donald Trump's treatment of women and his "unabashed prejudices," is now seeking to join the Democratic Party.

Fukumoto said that after speaking out about Trump's treatment of minorities and women, she was censured instead of listened to. 

"A call for kindness and respect should have been a nonpartisan message, but it was controversial within the party," Fukumoto wrote in a resignation letter. "Within 24 hours, calls for my resignation or censure abounded. My caucus told me that they would remove me from leadership unless I promised to not criticize the president for the remainder of his term. That was a promise I simply could not make."

Fukumoto wrote that her efforts to try and reform the GOP into a more tolerant party have been unsuccessful. "What I've experienced over the last eight years is that the GOP doesn't want to change," she wrote.

"The leaders that remain in the party either condone the problems I've identified or they agree with me but are unwilling to stand up and fight," Fukumoto wrote. "For those reasons, I am resigning from the Republican party."