Republican ex-lawmakers back Biden on first day of Trump convention

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than two-dozen former Republican U.S. lawmakers, including former Senator Jeff Flake, endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention, in the latest rebuke of President Donald Trump by members of his own party.

The 27 former members of Congress joined a “Republicans for Biden” initiative organized by the Biden campaign to encourage Republican support for the Democrat, the Biden campaign said. They cited Trump’s “corruption, destruction of democracy, blatant disregard for moral decency, and urgent need to get the country back on course” as reasons for the move, according to a Biden campaign statement.

“I was a Republican long before the president ever called himself one, and I’ll be a Republican long after identifying as such is no longer useful to him,” Flake said in a 16-minute video explaining his decision to endorse Biden and vote for a Democratic presidential nominee for the first time.

“Given what we have experienced over the past four years, it’s not enough just to register our disapproval of the president. We need to elect someone else in his place, someone who will stop the chaos and reverse the damage.”

The former lawmakers are only the latest Republican group to endorse Biden and oppose Trump in the Nov. 3 election, illustrating how the president has alienated members of his own party.

Last week, 73 former Republican national security officials, including former chiefs of the FBI and CIA, endorsed Biden while calling Trump unfit to serve.

Opposition groups object to Trump’s alienation of U.S. allies abroad and his leadership at home, including his response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 176,000 Americans.

The Trump campaign has described the groups as disaffected former officials “trying to take down the duly elected President of the United States.”