'America or Trump? I choose America': Former RNC chairman Michael Steele endorses Joe Biden for president

  • Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday.
  • The longtime Republican, who has now joined the ranks of the Lincoln Project, said that President Donald Trump's reelection would "plunge our country into chaos."
  • "Rather than seeking to build on the legacy of the Republican Party's founders, of which Trump is surely ignorant, Trump has posited a single purpose for the GOP — the celebration of him," Steele wrote in an NBC News editorial.
  • To Steele, the 2020 election is not about policies pushed by Democrats or Republicans. Instead, he said, "it is about the course of a nation and the character of her people reflected in the leader they choose."
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Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, a self-identified "lifelong Republican," endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday.

"America or Trump? I choose America," Steele said in an advertisement released by the Lincoln Project, a group he joined in August that consists of Republicans rallying against President Donald Trump's reelection. 

Steele served as the head of the RNC from 2009 to 2011 when former President Barack Obama was in office. When elected, he campaigned against the administration and Democrats. But on Tuesday he announced that Trump's leadership has compelled him to cross the aisle and throw his support behind the former vice president.

This endorsement comes just two weeks before Election Day, as Trump lags behind Biden in every major national poll.

"Rather than seeking to build on the legacy of the Republican Party's founders, of which Trump is surely ignorant, Trump has posited a single purpose for the GOP — the celebration of him," Steele wrote in an NBC News editorial on Tuesday.

"I was, and am, convinced that conservative principles, individual initiative, and free enterprise are the most effective means of empowering people to achieve the American Dream," he added. "An opportunist, I am not. Yet, I cannot support the nominee of my party."

Steele emphasized that this election comes down to American values, rather than the policies advocated by either party. 

"I, of course, disagree with Biden on many issues and policies, sometimes vigorously; and it is my fervent hope that he will pursue policies that will help our country heal," he wrote. "But this election is not about those issues or policies. Rather, it is about the course of a nation and the character of her people reflected in the leader they choose."

Currently a political analyst for MSNBC, Steele was the RNC's first Black chairman. Before that, he was the first Black person to hold a statewide office in Maryland as lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007.

In the Lincoln Project video, Steele reiterated that he is "still a Republican." But, he said, "this ballot is how we restore the soul of our nation — electing a good man, Joe Biden, and a trailblazer, Kamala Harris — and ensure an orderly transfer of power, or plunge our country into chaos."

Another ex-RNC chairman who served during President George W. Bush's administration, former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, also announced last month that he's voting for Biden.

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