Former Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Sunday, claiming he will cast his first vote for a Democrat because President Donald Trump lacks “the empathy, integrity, intellect, and maturity to lead.”
“I will cast my vote for Joe Biden on Nov. 3,” Ridge wrote in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It will be my first vote for a Democratic candidate for president of the United States. But it is not the first time I have said ‘no’ to Donald Trump. I urge my fellow Pennsylvanians to join me.”
Ridge went on to remind readers of his anti-Trump bona fides, recalling that he was among the first Republicans to denounce Trump for being “an embarrassment to the Republican Party and our country.”
“I said he belittles, demeans, and ridicules people who disagree with him, and that I’ve never thought that loud, obnoxious, and simpleminded solutions to complex problems are the kind of qualities we want in a president. I believe that earned me my first of several Trump tweets of indignation,” Ridge continued.
Ridge, who served as the first secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, also hit at Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, contrasting it with Bush’s leadership in the wake of 9/11. After recalling Bush’s speech on the rubble in lower Manhattan, Ridge said:
Compare and contrast that with the crisis of today. Imagine the impact of President Trump traveling to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in February, and talking plainly about the challenge Mother Nature intended to throw at us, and how this country, working together, public and private sector, would confront it with all the fortitude and resources we could bring to bear. Then imagine him meeting with journalists the next day, appearing with a face mask, and calmly walking through the steps that his fellow citizens could and should take to do their part to combat this new challenge. Imagine the difference in attitude and outcomes. Perhaps I have more trust in Americans being able to handle the truth than the president.
Ridge continued his broadside against Trump by scolding him for questioning the “sanctity” of an election that could hinge on mail-in ballots. Referencing Trump’s claim that he will only lose if the election is rigged, Ridge wrote, “Can you imagine the hubris? Can you imagine any other president in our lifetime — or ever — saying something so dangerous and un-American? We are in the midst of a health crisis, when we should be doing all we can to help citizens vote safely, yet he continues to cast doubt on the sanctity of the vote. He’s done so multiple times here in Pennsylvania.”
“It’s deplorable, yet utterly consistent with past reprehensible behavior,” Ridge added. He also said that even though his Republican principles have pushed him to vote for a Democrat, he will still call out Biden when he disagrees with him.
Ridge also took Trump to task in July for dispatching federal officers to quell unrest in Democrat-controlled cities such as Portland. “The [Department of Homeland Security] was established to protect America from the ever-present threat of global terrorism. It was not established to be the president’s personal militia,” he said.