Dallas Elector Christopher Suprun Won't Vote For Trump; Questions Arise About His Past
Editor's note: This web story has been edited to reflect the latest reports about Christopher Suprun's background.
The Electoral College will vote Dec. 19 for the next president. At least two of this state’s electors announced they won’t cast votes for Donald Trump. One resigned as an elector. The other, Christopher Suprun from Dallas, vows that he will vote for someone else.
He sat down with KERA for a Friday Conversation before a WFAA report raised questions about his past.
Interview Highlights: Christopher Suprun…
…On why he’s staying on as an elector, unlike fellow Texan Art Sisneros:
“Sisneros and I came to this decision about Mr. Trump I think similarly. His was to resign so that he could uphold his pledge. And while I understand some of the anger about the pledge issue, for me, I think it's more appropriate to do what I can in terms of taking a tough decision rather than an easy one. Rather than take the easy way out and simply resign or take the easy way out and simply cast the ballot for someone who I feel is unqualified, I'm trying to cast a ballot for the right person.
I'm less worried about being judged harshly on Dec. 19 or Dec. 20 of 2016 and much more willing to be judged by a longer lens of history.”
…On Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s suggestion for a law forcing electors to vote for the popular vote winner in Texas:
“It certainly makes political sense for the lieutenant governor to pass legislation like that. If the lieutenant governor had passed this binding law two years ago and I was in this position where I thought we were potentially going to elect the wrong person, it would not stop me.
I don't think it would stop an elector who wanted to make a vote of conscience and do the right thing if it meant a $1,000 or a $5,000 fine. I think they're going to exercise their free will, their free speech rights under the Constitution as expressed in their vote.”
…On how the reaction to his decision affects him:
“There are certainly some threats that cross a line. That's unfortunate in a democracy and a Constitutional Republic that someone would threaten someone else's life over a vote they're taking, especially a vote that they're describing is conscientious. But there's negative feedback in this world and that's OK.
What isn't revealed there though is I've had people reach out to me. I had a gentleman here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who can trace his geologic history back to the American Revolution. This person came to me and said, ‘Look, my great-great-grandpappy who fought in the original big one - the American Revolution - would endorse you. He would love what you're doing.’”
…On whether he would support abolishing the Electoral College:
“I still like the Electoral College for two reasons. One, I don't think California, Texas, Florida and New York should make most of our decisions. Based on population, I think elections would be focused in those areas as opposed to the swing states that actually decided election: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and so forth.
But part two, a national popular vote does not allow for the emergency brake that I'm trying to apply. Again, I'm of the winning party, so to speak, and I'm saying ‘wait, we need to rethink what we're doing, put a brake on and make sure we make this decision it correctly.’”
Reports About Suprun's Past
This interview was recorded on Wednesday, before the WFAA report came out Thursday night about Suprun's background.
Earlier this month, Suprun wrote this in a New York Times essay: "Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation." The Dallas television station could find no evidence that he was a firefighter at that point and quoted unidentified first responder. It also raised questions about other parts of his resume.
Suprun did not comment for the WFAA report. He did respond to questioners on Reddit, saying he was a volunteer firefighter in Virginia at the time of the attack and alleging that WFAA's report "exhibits a reckless disregard for the truth." Here's how the Dallas Morning News is covering the story.