More than 100 former staff members for the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) are pledging to support Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s presidential bid in the November election.
The New York Times reports that the endorsement follows the second anniversary of the Arizona senator’s death this week and marks a fresh push from anti-Trump Republicans to dissuade conservative and moderate voters from backing President Donald Trump.
The group of staffers issued a statement obtained by the Times that simultaneously praised McCain and rebuked Trump.
The group cited the late senator’s “frequent call on Americans to serve causes greater than our self-interest” as a mobilizing force for their efforts to defeat Trump, adding that McCain’s convictions “were not empty slogans like so much of our politics today.”
“They were the creed by which he lived, and he urged us to do the same,” the group wrote of McCain.
Many of those who signed the statement are still Republicans and include both chiefs of staff from the Arizona lawmaker’s Senate office to junior aides from his campaign trails. Some had worked diligently for McCain all along his 35 years in Congress and stuck by his side through both of his presidential bids.
Mark Salter, a top McCain aide and speechwriter, helped bring voices together in the letter.
“We have different views of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party platform — most of us will disagree with a fair amount of it — but we all agree that getting Donald Trump out of office is clearly in the national interest,” Salter told the Times in an interview.
He criticized Trump’s foreign policy stance and “America First” framework, calling it a “coddling of dictators or disinterest in our alliances.”
The statement bolsters a move by Democrats during the party’s convention last week that took note of the bipartisan friendship between Biden and McCain.
According to the Times, Republican Voters Against Trump is hoping to draw momentum in Arizona from the staffers’ rebuke of the President by pumping Arizona’s airwaves with a television ad that clips moments from then-presidential candidate McCain’s acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in 2008 and contrasts them with some of Trump’s more incendiary remarks.
The staffers’ statement is also scheduled to appear in The Washington Post on Friday, hours after Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday night.