Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., poses for a photo outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Cook served 26 years as a Marine, earning two Purple Heart medals for combat wounds suffered in Vietnam. But amid his seventh year in Congress, the aching and discouraged California Republican has decided he’s endured enough (AP Photo/Alan Fram)

House retiree: Toxic politics, Trump White House, bad knees

September 22, 2019 - 9:14 am
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Paul Cook served 26 years as a Marine and was wounded twice in Vietnam. But during his seventh year in Congress, the moderate Republican from California has decided he's endured enough.

Cook has bad knees, he's 76 and he won't seek reelection next year.

But he's also a case study in how some old-school moderate Republicans feel alienated in an increasingly fractious capital.

Cook believes Republicans won't win back the House majority in the 2020 elections. That would leave the GOP once again with frustratingly little clout.

He dislikes President Donald Trump's late-night tweets and his criticisms of NATO and some of its member nations.

And Cook bemoans Washington's "toxic" political atmosphere, which he blames on hard-right Republicans and hard-left Democrats.

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