More Than Two Dozen Republicans Break From Party, Endorse Joe Biden

August 25, 2020 by Reece Nations
Republicans are facing a reckoning as they contend with some divisive candidates during the country's struggle through civic unrest. “He’s driving away moderate Republicans and independents en masse,” retired Sen. Jeff Flake said in an interview Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Coinciding with the first day of the Republican National Convention, the Joe Biden for President campaign announced the launch of “Republicans for Biden,” an initiative aimed at courting conservative voters away from incumbent President Donald Trump.

Among the 27 prominent Republicans supporting Biden’s candidacy is former Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who served in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 and in the Senate from 2013 to 2019. Flake, a frequent and vocal critic of President Trump’s, chose not to seek reelection in the 2018 midterm election.

In addition to the former GOP congressional members, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former EPA Director Christine Whitman also endorsed Biden. After the announcement came from the Biden campaign, Flake remarked on his decision in a live-streamed address to his fellow conservatives.

“After the turmoil of the past four years, we need a president who unifies rather than divides,” Flake said in the video address. “We need a president who prefers teamwork to tribalism. We need a president who summons our better angels, not a president who appeals to our baser instincts. That’s why we need Joe Biden.”

Former Hewlett Packard executives Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman have also pledged their support to Biden’s candidacy. Fiorina, herself a former GOP presidential hopeful, was picked by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to be his running mate during his 2016 presidential campaign. 

Despite the surge of members rebuking their party’s leader, President Trump still boasts an approval rating of around 90% with Republican voters, according to Gallup. Previously, Flake wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in Sept. 2019 urging his former colleagues to support President Trump’s impeachment. 

“My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles,” Flake’s op-ed read. “Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve reelection.”

“Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those,” the op-ed continued. “For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, do just that.”

Former lawmakers joining Flake in endorsing Biden include: Sens. Gordon Humphrey, R-N.H.; John Warner, R-Va.; Reps. Steve Bartlett, R-Texas; Bill Clinger, R-Pa.; Tom Coleman, R-Mo.; Charlie Dent, R-Pa.; Charles Djou, R-Hawaii; Mickey Edwards, R-Okla.; Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md.; Jim Greenwood, R-Pa.; Bob Inglis, R-S.C.; Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.; Steve Kuykendall, R-Calif.; Ray LaHood, R-Ill.; Jim Leach, R-Iowa; Susan Molinari, R-N.Y.; Connie Morella, R-Md.; Mike Parker, R-Miss.; Jack Quinn, R-N.Y.; Claudine Schneider, R-R.I.; Christopher Shays, R-Conn.; Peter Smith, R-Vt.; Alan Steelman, R-Texas, Jim Walsh, R-N.Y.; Bill Whitehurst, R-Va.; and Dick Zimmer, R-N.J.

“In a strong rebuke to the current administration, these former members of Congress cited Trump’s corruption, destruction of democracy, blatant disregard for moral decency, and urgent need to get the country back on course as a reason why they support Biden,” the Biden campaign said in a statement. “These former members of Congress are supporting Joe Biden because they know what’s at stake in this election and that Trump’s failures as president have superseded partisanship.”

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