Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez attends a luncheon following a meeting of the business council at the chamber's headquarters in Washington on Feb. 16, 2016.
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August 14, 2016 12:43 PM EDT

Carlos Gutierrez, the former Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush, has joined the ranks of Republicans who are supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Gutierrez said Clinton would “make a darned good president” and be better for the U.S. economy, calling Trump’s economic policies a “disaster” during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. While Gutierrez agrees with Trump’s free trade platform, he said the Republican nominee’s economic policies would harm the country.

“The economy’s important to me. His plan, I love the tax cuts, I’m a Republican, but then he has this sort of import substitution strategy, which is a strategy like an underdeveloped country, very poor countries think that way,” he said. “(The idea) that we have to substitute our imports. That would be a disaster.”

Gutierrez said he felt he couldn’t support Trump following his racially insensitive comments in June, including one about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. At the time, Trump demanded Curiel recuse himself from the fraud cases against Trump University because his campaign’s position on illegal immigration created an “absolute conflict” with the judge, who is of Mexican descent.

“That for me was the end of it,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t want to go back fifty years.”

Write to Mahita Gajanan at

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