Thursday, August 27, 2020

'Country First' - McCain and Romney staffers endorse Biden.

From the NY Times: Over 100 Ex-Staff Members for John McCain Endorse Joe Biden The group endorsement of Mr. Biden is the latest effort from anti-Trump Republicans to lure conservatives and moderates away from the president, who often clashed with the former Arizona senator.

More than 100 former staff members for Senator John McCain are supporting Joseph R. Biden Jr., a show of support across the political divide that they hope amplifies the “Country First” credo of the former Arizona senator.

That motto and “his frequent call on Americans to serve causes greater than our self-interest were not empty slogans like so much of our politics today,” the group of aides, most of them still Republicans, wrote in a joint statement, praising Mr. McCain and implicitly taking aim at President Trump. “They were the creed by which he lived, and he urged us to do the same.”

The list of signatories includes a range of people — from chiefs of staff in Mr. McCain’s Senate office to junior aides on his campaigns — who worked for him over his 35 years in Congress and during two presidential bids.

The statement alone is unlikely to affect the presidential race. However, an allied Republican group is hoping to capitalize on it by airing a new television ad in Arizona, a highly competitive state, that contrasts Mr. McCain’s acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 with a series of Mr. Trump’s more inflammatory statements.

"A word to Senator Obama and his supporters,” Mr. McCain said at the time, in words that the group, Republican Voters Against Trump, uses in the ad. “Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.”

The statement is also slated to run in The Washington Post on Friday, the morning after Mr. Trump’s acceptance speech.

The quadrennial nominating conventions usually offer tributes to party leaders who have died since the last gathering. But at this week’s Republican convention there has been no mention of Mr. McCain, who clashed bitterly with Mr. Trump and did not want the president at his funeral. (Mr. Trump continued attacking Mr. McCain after his death.) Nor has anything been done yet to honor former President George Bush, who also died in 2018.

Indeed, it’s most likely that Mr. McCain will end up having had more of a tribute at the Democratic convention than at his own party’s. His widow, Cindy McCain, participated in a video recounting his friendship with Mr. Biden but did not address the virtual Democratic gathering.

It remains unclear how far she’ll go with her support for Mr. Biden, who is hoping to put Arizona in the Democratic column for the first time since 1996.

Mr. McCain’s closest advisers were particularly touched by the kindness of Mr. Biden in his former colleague’s final months and how he traveled to Arizona to visit Mr. McCain at his cabin.

… most of the senior officials from Mr. McCain’s two presidential campaigns are publicly supporting Mr. Biden.

“These are unusual times, and this is not an easy decision for Republicans to make,” they conceded in the statement, “but we are heartened by Joe Biden’s history of bipartisanship.”

Staff members of Mitt Romney also are backing Biden. Also from the NY Times: Dozens of former McCain and Romney staff members back Biden.

In contrast to the Democratic Convention, where three former presidents and the party’s 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, made the case for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Republican convention has been devoid of such standard bearers this week for President Trump.

Now dozens of former staff members of the G.O.P.’s previous two presidential nominees — Senator John McCain and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah — have endorsed Mr. Biden.

Both have been targets of Mr. Trump — Mr. McCain, who died in 2018, for his role in helping to preserve the Affordable Care Act, and Mr. Romney for voting his year in support of one of the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump.

The cross-aisle alliance between Mr. McCain and Mr. Biden, one a conservative war hero from Arizona and the other an Irish Catholic senator from Delaware, has been pointed to by Mr. Biden’s supporters as an example of Mr. Biden’s bipartisan spirit.

The group of more than 100 former McCain staffers hope that their endorsement amplifies Mr. McCain’s “Country First” credo. That motto and “his frequent call on Americans to serve causes greater than our self-interest were not empty slogans like so much of our politics today,” the group of aides, most of them still Republicans, wrote in a joint statement, praising Mr. McCain and implicitly taking aim at President Trump. “They were the creed by which he lived, and he urged us to do the same.”

Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s longtime chief aide and speechwriter, helped organize the letter.

“We have different views of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party platform — most of us will disagree with a fair amount of it — but we all agree that getting Donald Trump out of office is clearly in the national interest,” Mr. Salter said.

The list of signers includes a range of people — from chiefs of staff in Mr. McCain’s Senate office to junior aides on his campaigns — who worked for him over his 35 years in Congress and during two presidential bids.

Over 30 of Mr. Romney’s former staff members signed a statement repudiating Mr. Trump, which was posted online.

“What unites us now is a deep conviction that four more years of a Trump presidency will morally bankrupt this country, irreparably damage our democracy, and permanently transform the Republican Party into a toxic personality cult,” they wrote. “We can’t sit by and allow that to happen.”

Thanks to Editor-at-large Sherry for tips motivating this post.

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