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Ex-Romney, McCain staffers backing Biden

The Hill logo The Hill 8/27/2020 Morgan Gstalter
Mitt Romney, John McCain are posing for a picture: Ex-Romney, McCain staffers backing Biden © Getty Images Ex-Romney, McCain staffers backing Biden

Dozens of staffers who worked for two former Republican presidential nominees - the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) - have announced their support for 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

More than 100 McCain staffers signed onto an open letter, dubbing themselves "McCain Alums for Joe Biden." The signatories include a wide range of people who worked for him during his 35 years in Congress, as well as his presidential campaigns in 2000 and in 2008, when he became the GOP nominee.

"Working for John McCain was an honor, and his example of public service remains a lasting influence on us. His motto, 'country first,' 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," they group wrote. "They were the creed by which he lived and he urged us to do the same. It is in that spirit that we are supporting his friend, Joe Biden."

They wrote that their endorsement is not an "easy decision for Republicans to make," but praised Biden's history of bipartisanship.

"Given the incumbent president's lack of competent leadership, his efforts to aggravate rather than bridge divisions among Americans, and his failure to uphold American values, we believe the election of former Vice President Biden is clearly in the national interest," their letter states.

The letter comes shortly after the second anniversary of McCain's death and just days after his wife, Cindy McCain, boosted Biden at the Democratic National Convention.

It also coincides with a similar push from former presidential campaign staffers of Romney, who was the Republican Party's nominee in 2012.

In an open letter published online, the group "Romney Alumni for Biden" condemned President Trump's rhetoric and praised Biden as "the type of tested leader this moment demands."

"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. "We can't sit by and allow that to happen."

Both groups include staffers who worked to defeat former President Obama and Biden, then his running mate, during their respective campaigns.

Trump also has a contentious relationship with both of the former GOP presidential nominees.

The president has long feuded with the McCain family, beginning in 2015 when he said John McCain, who served as a senator for more than 30 years after being held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, wasn't a war hero "because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

He has continued to criticize the senator after his death, knocking him as a "lousy candidate with lots of bad policy" just last week.

Trump has also had a tumultuous relationship with Romney. During the 2016 election, Romney said he opted to write in his wife, Ann Romney, on his ballot rather than casting his vote for Trump.

Romney earlier this year was the only GOP senator to vote in support of removing Trump from office during the president's impeachment trial.

He has not endorsed Biden and has been silent about who he will support during November's general election.

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