Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday, saying the former vice president “will pursue options that work towards healing the divide” worsened by President Donald Trump.
Steele was the first African American to be elected to statewide office in Maryland, serving as lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007. He was also the first African American to serve as chairman of the RNC.
Steele joined the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans opposing Trump’s reelection, in August.
“Many of Donald Trump’s supporters bring legitimate concerns to the table. During my time leading the GOP, I endeavored to address these and other grievances through the lens of unity and growth. But Trump has energized the party through the exact opposite means – by focusing on stoking division and eroding our core principles,” Steele said in a statement issued by the Lincoln Project.
“Although Vice President Biden and I disagree on some policy points, I believe he will earnestly pursue options that work towards healing the divide exacerbated by Trump and his administration,” Steele added. “My support for Biden is because we share an everlasting loyalty to what is ultimately best for our nation.”
Since leaving his position as RNC chair in 2011, Steele has evolved into one of Trump’s most prominent Republican critics.
When Trump expressed frustration behind closed doors with people coming to the US from “sh*thole countries,” Steele called it racist. In April, he said: “America, in some respects, has been abused by this president.” And in June, he asserted that Trump does not believe America’s ideals.
The Lincoln Project has produced an array of scorching ads against Trump, which range from slamming the President’s response to the coronavirus pandemic to attacking Republican senators who have stood with the President. Most recently, the group released an ad featuring retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his wife, Rachel. Vindman, who worked for the White House National Security Council under Trump, was the target of the President’s attacks over his role in the impeachment inquiry.
The ads have drawn an angry rebuke from Trump, who has labeled the group “Losers Project” and called its founders Republicans in name only.
Steele is also appearing in a taped ad for the Lincoln Project, explaining why he’s choosing Biden over Trump.