NYT: Vote for Trump? These Republican Leaders Aren’t on the Bandwagon
Former President George W. Bush and Senator Mitt Romney won’t support Mr. Trump’s re-election, and other G.O.P. officials are mulling a vote for Joe Biden.
It was one thing in 2016 for top Republicans to take a stand against Donald J. Trump for president: He wasn’t likely to win anyway, the thinking went, and there was no ongoing conservative governing agenda that would be endangered.
The 2020 campaign is different: Opposing the sitting president of your own party means putting policy priorities at risk, in this case appointing conservative judges, sustaining business-friendly regulations and cutting taxes — as well as incurring the volcanic wrath of Mr. Trump.
But, far sooner than they expected, growing numbers of prominent Republicans are debating how far to go in revealing that they won’t back his re-election — or might even vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee. They’re feeling a fresh urgency because of Mr. Trump’s incendiary response to the protests of police brutality, atop his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private discussions.
Former President George W. Bush won’t support the re-election of Mr. Trump, and Jeb Bush isn’t sure how he’ll vote, say people familiar with their thinking. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah won’t back Mr. Trump and is deliberating whether to again write in his wife, Ann, or cast another ballot this November. And Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, is almost certain to support Mr. Biden but is unsure how public to be about it because one of her sons is eying a run for office.
None of them voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, but the reproach of big Republican names carries a different weight when an incumbent president and his shared agenda with Senate leaders are on the line.
Former Republican leaders like the former Speakers Paul D. Ryan and John A. Boehner won’t say how they will vote, and some Republicans who are already disinclined to support Mr. Trump are weighing whether to go beyond backing a third-party contender to openly endorse Mr. Biden. Retired military leaders, who have guarded their private political views, are increasingly voicing their unease about the president’s leadership but are unsure whether to embrace his opponent.more...