More than two dozen ex-GOP lawmakers join Republicans for Biden group hours before Trump's RNC convention

New campaign initiative features prominent conservatives in battleground states, all calling for the nation to elect Joe Biden come November

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 24 August 2020 15:45 BST
Jeff Flake to Donald Trump: 'Treason is not a punchline, Mr President,'

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has launched an effort seeking to engage Republican voters ahead of the November election, with more than two dozen former GOP lawmakers joining a new "Republicans for Biden" initiative on Monday.

The roster of Republicans featured several prominent politicians in crucial battleground states, including former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump who has previously said that a “sound defeat” of the president would benefit the GOP.

The announcement comes on the first day of the Republican National Convention, in which party leaders decided to throw their full support behind the Republican incumbent — without making any formal changes to its 2016 policy platform.

Other former Republican lawmakers backing Mr Biden as part of the new initiative included former Virginia Senator John Warner and former New Hampshire Senator Gordon Humphrey.

The list also included several former congressmen, from former Arizona Rep Jim Kolbe and former Oklahoma Rep Mickey Edwards to former Mississippi Rep Mike Parker and former Illinois Rep Ray LaHood, who previously served under Barack Obama as the US secretary of Transportation.

In a statement to Fox News announcing the new initiative, a campaign official for the former vice president said “Trump’s failures have superseded partisanship”.

“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 official told Fox News. “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are supporting Joe Biden because they know what’s at stake in this election and that Trump’s failures as President have superseded partisanship.”

The campaign official also reportedly described the new initiative as a “strong rebuke” of the president.

Though Mr Trump has enjoyed strong approval ratings throughout his tenure in the White House among Republican voters, a wave of former GOP voices have come out in opposition to the president and his administration.

Mr Flake told the Washington Post in an April interview about the president: “I don't know anyone who thinks that this is the future of the party. This is a demographic cul-de-sac we're in, if nothing else. Anger and resentment only go so far; you have to have a governing philosophy.”

“I don't know of any of my colleagues who really believe this is it,” he continued. “I just couldn't support [Donald Trump] long before he started to run. The birtherism thing was just too much for me. And then it piled on.”

Mr Trump was meanwhile expected to appear all four nights at this week’s Republican National Convention, along with current GOP officials like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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