Former 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says she’ll support Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, calling the presumptive Democratic standard-bearer a person of “humility” and “character.”
“I’ve been very clear that I can’t support Donald Trump. And, you know, elections are binary choices. I will say this: I think, I hope, that Biden understands that this moment in history calls for him to be a leader, not a politician,” Fiorina told The Atlantic’s podcast The Ticket in an interview released Thursday.
Pressed whether that meant she would vote for Biden in the general election, Fiorina replied, “Well, it’s not ‘til November is it? I’m not voting for Trump … it’s a binary choice. So if faced with a binary choice on a ballot, yes.”
Fiorina is one of several Republicans who have recently said they won’t vote for Trump in November. Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton said he’ll instead write in a conservative candidate, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” earlier this month that he’ll vote for Biden.
Fiorina, an anti-abortion and former US Senate candidate, acknowledged that there are “plenty of policy differences” she has with Biden, but added that she believes the former vice president could “problem solve” and “find common ground on a bipartisan basis.”
“I am encouraged that Joe Biden is a person of humility and empathy and character. I think he’s demonstrated that through his life,” she said.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was one of 17 Republican presidential candidates in 2016, becoming the only declared female candidate to seek the GOP nomination.
After dropping out, she endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for president, and Cruz, in a late ditch attempt to regain momentum in the race, named Fiorina his running mate. Cruz and Trump had engaged in a contentious and ugly primary fight for the nomination, which culminated with Cruz calling Trump “utterly amoral” and Trump verbally attacking Cruz’s wife.
Asked about Cruz’s embrace of Trump now, Fiorina told The Atlantic she thinks it’s “all about politics” and that she hasn’t spoken to the US senator in a couple of years.
“I don’t excuse it. I don’t. It disappoints me,” she said.
Fiorina said she voted for Trump in 2016, citing her disapproval of then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – even after she had her own appearance attacked by Trump during the primary.
Trump dismissed Fiorina’s criticism later Thursday, calling her a “failed presidential candidate.”
“She lost so badly to me, twice in one campaign, that she should be voting for Joe. No complaints!!!” he wrote on Twitter.
Fiorina has previously criticized Trump, including during the impeachment inquiry in December, when she told CNN’s Poppy Harlow, “it is vital that he be impeached” but stopped short of calling for his removal from office.
At the time, she did not rule out voting for Trump again in 2020, saying, “it depends who the Democrats put up.”
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect that Fiorina was the only woman to seek the GOP nomination in 2016. It has also been updated to include Trump’s response.