Michael Steele, who became the first Black chairman of the Republican National Committee a decade ago, has endorsed Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.
“I am an American, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” Steele wrote in an NBC News op-ed published early Tuesday. “And I am voting for Joe Biden on Nov. 3.”
While he praised the values of former President Ronald Reagan and Republican principles like “individual initiative and free enterprise” as “the most effective means of empowering people to achieve the American Dream,” he said that President Trump failed to meet those standards.
“The Republican Party, like our nation, has an animating purpose — promoting freedom,” he wrote, invoking former Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 abolitionist speech before the Cooper Union.
“America has watched as the Republican Party stopped pursuing its animating principles of freedom and opportunity,” Steele wrote. “It has given up its voice on things that mattered and instead bent the arc of the party towards the baser motives of one man, who is neither a Republican nor a conservative.”
He said he disagrees with Biden on a policy issues, “sometimes vigorously,” but hoped the Democrat would “help our country heal.”
“This election is not about those issues or policies,” he said. “Rather, it is about the course of a nation and the character of her people reflected in the leader they choose.”
“I am asking my fellow Americans to consider what is in your best interests, and not Donald Trump’s.”
The endorsement of Biden is not the first time Steele has publicly criticized the president – he joined the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group, in late August.
“The chair behind the Resolute Desk has always been bigger than any political party,” he said at the time. “Sadly, we have witnessed its occupant devolve into preying upon fears and resentments with narcissism that nurtures only chaos and confusion.”
Racicot also argued that President Trump lacks the character needed to run the country — but he blamed more people than just the commander in chief for a divisive political climate.
“A free people can’t govern themselves if they cannot proceed with respect for the other people involved in the process and with humility,” he said. “It just simply won’t work.”