Former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Michael Steele endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday and cut an ad for the anti-Trump group, The Lincoln Project.
“I am an American, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” Steele wrote in an op-ed for NBC News. “And I am voting for Joe Biden on Nov. 3.”
Steele went on to lay out the reasons for his decision, which he chalked up to Trump failing to live up to the founding principles of the Republican Party.
“Over the last 150 years, the Republican Party, at its best, built on the legacy of its founders, and championed freedom not only throughout our country but around the world,” Steele wrote, appealing to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. “In my lifetime, my party insisted upon not just ending, but winning, the Cold War and toppling murderous regimes that denied basic freedoms to their oppressed people. Republicans also were the lead advocates for market-based economic systems that reduced the rate of extreme poverty globally from over 35 percent in 1990 to less than 10 percent in 2017 — an astonishing but largely overlooked achievement that benefited hundreds of millions.”
By contrast, Steele argued, Trump cares only about promoting himself. “Rather than binding up the nation’s wounds, Trump exacerbates division. Rather than standing up to the world’s dictators, Trump cravenly seeks the favor of thugs. Rather than fostering free enterprise, Trump embraces economic principles not only outdated in Lincoln’s time but made even worse today by a leader who lost close to a billion dollars in a single year running a casino. Rather than seeking to build on the legacy of the Republican Party’s founders, of which Trump is surely ignorant, Trump has posited a single purpose for the GOP — the celebration of him.”
Conceding that many of the issues Trump pinpointed are legitimate grievances, such as sneering coastal elites, education disparity, and impeded economic mobility, Steele maintained that such things should be addressed “responsibly” and not “demagogically.”
“I, of course, disagree with Biden on many issues and policies, sometimes vigorously; and it is my fervent hope that he will pursue policies that will help our country heal,” Steele concluded. “But this election is not about those issues or policies. 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.”
Steele, who was the first African American to elected to statewide office in Maryland, served as its lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007. He took the reins of the GOP in 2009 and served as chairman until 2011.
Steele tweeted out the ad he did for The Lincoln Project and urged his followers to vote, saying, “Where you stand in the moment matters. In this moment, leadership, decency, constitutional norms matter. Character matters. Our vote matters. The president we choose matters. I stand with @JoeBiden because America matters.”
Where you stand in the moment matters. In this moment, leadership, decency, constitutional norms matter. Character matters. Our vote matters. The president we choose matters. I stand with @JoeBiden because America matters. #Vote https://t.co/TGR08YQ3gd
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) October 20, 2020