The Orlando Sentinel editorial board on Friday apologized for endorsing Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), who won reelection last month and has since supported a legal effort out of Texas that seeks to challenge the results of the presidential race won by Joe Biden.
“We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy,” the editorial board wrote in an op-ed published on Friday apologizing for its endorsement of Republican lawmaker.
The news comes after Waltz — to the Sentinel’s “horror” — joined more than 100 House Republicans who signed onto an amicus brief in a Texas lawsuit to invalidate millions of votes and the election results from four battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden. In a tweet Thursday, Waltz said: “Before Trump or Biden concede, we must count every LEGAL vote & investigate irregularities & fraud.”
“There is some real substance,” Waltz told the Daytona Beach News-Journal in an interview on Wednesday, defending his support of the legal effort even though, as the Sentinel pointed out, Trump’s campaign has lost at least 55 of its court cases so far as it continues to baselessly dispute the election.
“I have thought a lot about this and this is a perilous time in our democracy but these are real, true, significant issues and I hope the Supreme Court takes them up,” Waltz added.
The Sentinel editorial board wrote that it had not considered that asking candidates whether or not they would support “an effort to throw out the votes of tens of millions of Americans in four states in order to overturn a presidential election and hand it to the person who lost,” would be necessary to determine their suitability for the publication’s endorsement.
The Sentinel said, however, that an interest in preserving American democracy will not be taken for granted in its endorsement considerations going forward.
The board called Waltz “dangerous” and said that it should have heeded as a “red flag” that Waltz had once crashed a congressional hearing during Trump’s impeachment proceedings.
The publication said that move, coupled with his recent decision to sign onto an effort to swindle the election won by Biden, was “a sign that Waltz’s loyalty isn’t to the Constitution but to a president whose flaws are deep, profound and dangerous.”
Waltz — a former Army Green Beret — is just one of more than a hundred Republican lawmakers who are participating in a crusade against American democracy that also included members of House GOP leadership, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).