More than 30 former staffers from Mitt Romney”;s presidential campaign are signing onto an effort to elect Joe Biden –; the same man they worked to defeat during the 2012 campaign.
The latest initiative launched by Republicans eager to unseat their party”;s presidential nominee comes as Romney is increasingly viewed with scorn by President Donald Trump”;s fervent base.
In an open letter obtained by POLITICO, the group, which dubs itself “;Romney Alumni for Biden,”; says Trump”;s rhetoric and actions are antithetical to the Republican Party they believe in.
“;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,”; the group writes in the letter, published on Romney4Biden.com and released on the day Trump is due to deliver his keynote convention address. “;We can”;t sit by and allow that to happen.”;
The 34 total signatories include finance, operations, policy and events staffers from Romney”;s presidential bid.
While Romney is not affiliated with the pro-Biden letter, the Utah Republican makes no secret of his distaste for Trump. He has consistently been one of the most anti-Trump GOP lawmakers since winning his Senate seat in 2018 and notably voted to convict the president in February on charges of abuses of power.
Trump has frequently disparaged Romney by chiding him for the 2012 loss to former President Barack Obama. Although Romney didn”;t vote for Trump in 2016 (instead, he wrote in his wife), the ex-Romney staffers are going a step further this November by endorsing the Democratic nominee.
The effort is led by Micah Spangler, who served as a Florida field director for Romney”;s unsuccessful bid for the presidency. A lifelong Republican, Spangler said his disgust at Trump”;s takeover of the GOP compelled him to gather support for Biden.
“;We know him to be a good man and honest man, and a reliable executive, legislator and policymaker. This is a time in our country where we desperately need someone like that,”; Spangler said of Biden. “;We need an adult in the room.”;
The letter tips Biden to combat the coronavirus pandemic due to his decades of public service and a perceived ability to unite the nation. But above all, the letter praises Biden”;s character over his policy chops –; a theme of the opening night of the Democratic National Convention.
“;Spending time with Sen. Romney on the campaign trail, from small town stops to massive rallies, in minivans and mega buses, we saw a thoughtful and compassionate man rooted in humility, service, and devotion to his family and fellow citizens,”; the letter reads. “;We know Mitt and Joe share those same essential, presidential traits–;traits that make Vice President Biden the clear choice to lead the United States through this perilous, uncertain time.”;
Biden is receiving praise from a host of disaffected Republicans in his bid for the White House, exemplified by former Ohio Gov. John Kasich”;s address during the first night of the DNC.
The Romney Alumni for Biden effort joins the ranks of groups like The Lincoln Project, famous for roiling Trump with inflammatory advertisements, and Republican Voters Against Trump, which features intimate voter testimonials. And on the opening night of the Republican National Convention, over two dozen former Republican lawmakers publicly endorsed Biden.
Mike Sistak, Romney”;s 2012 Michigan field director and another signatory, said the burgeoning numbers of anti-Trump Republican groups fills him with hope for the GOP”;s future.
The belief that the party is not beyond saving is key to the Romney Alumni for Biden letter –; even in the face of the president”;s near-total support from elected officials at the national level and his devoted base.
“;If the party suffers a huge overwhelming defeat in November, I think you’re going to see people shifting back to the center and realizing that the Trump experiment didn’t work,”; Sistak said.
In a sign of the party”;s transformation since 2012, Romney is now derided as a "Republican In Name Only" by Trump. In GOP primaries, past contributions to Romney are even seen as liabilities.
The signatories acknowledge MAGA attacks will come, but Spangler rejected the idea that the initiative is led by out-of-touch elites.
“;These are regular, real voters,”; Spangler said. “;Despite perhaps putting a scarlet “;R”; for “;RINO”; on your chest, to make a statement like this shows how dedicated they are and how they really don’t care about those sort of labels.”;
Brittany Ladd, Ann Romney”;s advance director in 2012, signed the letter and said the group is composed of Republicans who believe Romney and the late Sen. John McCain better represent her party.
“;It might be a quiet minority, but we are very passionate and feel very strongly about where we want this country to go,”; Ladd said. “;And it’s not easy, especially in this environment, to come out and support a member of the opposite party.”;
Read more: politico.com