List Of Republicans Backing Biden Grows On First Night Of Democratic Convention – Forbes

TOPLINE

Democrats are expanding their outreach to Republicans disaffected by President Trump ahead of the first night of the Democratic convention, with former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman joining Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his remarks to the convention.

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci Holds Discussion On Zika Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 24: Google Vice President of Public Policy Susan Molinari participates in a … [+] discussion on ‘Zika in the U.S.: Can We Manage the Risk?’ at the Woodrow Wilson Center May 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. A mosquito borne virus, Zika is expected to arrive in the United States this summer. Molinari noted that Google searches related to the Zika virus increased by 3000-percent from November of 2016 to March of 2016. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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KEY FACTS

Both Molinari and Whitman have been out of office for decades; Molinari served as the U.S. Representative for Staten Island from 1990 to 1997, with a two-year stint as vice chair of the House Republican Caucus, while Christine Whitman was New Jersey governor from 1994 to 2001 before serving as George W. Bush’s EPA director.

Meg Whitman, a former Hewlett Packard CEO, Republican mega donor and GOP nominee for California Governor, has long been a vocal Trump opponent and endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The four Republicans will speak for a segment called “We The People Putting Country Over Party,” which will also feature swing-state and red state Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.).

Biden’s other GOP endorsers include three former cabinet secretaries – including former Bush Administration Secretary of State Colin Powell – six former members of Congress, three former Republican state party chairs, former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and even Anthony Scaramucci, a one-time Trump ally who served as Trump’s White House communications director for just two weeks.

A number of Republican media figures, campaign strategists and government officials have even organized PACs dedicated to supporting Biden, including the Lincoln Project, Republican Voters Against Trump and, most recently, 43 Alumni for Biden.

Crucial Quote

Asked at a press conference on Monday about why so many Republicans are slated to speak, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) explained, “There are a bunch of people out there – silent Biden voters, Republican voters who want to vote for Biden – and it’s important that they know they’re not alone.”

Big Number

62%. But the addition of Kasich has drawn criticism from many Democrats, who have pointed to both his pro-life views and the fact that he is slated to speak longer than progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who was given just 60 seconds for a pre-recorded address. A YouGov/CBS News poll found that 62% of Democrats oppose Kasich speaking at the convention, with 44% also saying they oppose former President Bill Clinton’s speech. This comes after hundreds of delegates signed a letter urging Democrats not to let Kasich speak. 

Key Background

Despite winning the Republican nomination in 2016 and seizing dominance over the party during his presidency, Trump’s often divisive rhetoric has spawned a small but persistent faction of “Never-Trump Republicans.” Biden, by contrast, is known for his skill in forging relationships even with lawmakers on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Biden landed in hot water during the Democratic primary for touting his working relationships with segregationist senators and for effusively praising swing-district Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) during his reelection bid in 2018.

Surprising Fact 

Five sitting Republican senators are grappling with the question of whether to vote for Trump, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told the New York Times in June. In the aftermath of an op-ed by Trump’s former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis slamming Trump’s response to George Floyd protests, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she was “struggling” with whether to vote for him. The Times also reported that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) had already committed to not backing Trump and was considering writing-in his wife like he did in 2016.

What To Watch For

Molinari and Whitman may not be the last former Republican officials to defect to Biden. Former House speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan have so far refused to say whether they will vote for Trump, while former President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb Bush, Trump’s erstwhile GOP primary opponent, both told the Times they would not vote for him. John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff and Homeland Security secretary, praised Mattis’ op-ed in June and said, “I think we need to look harder at who we elect.”

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