Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele announced on Tuesday that he is voting for Democrat Joe Biden, claiming that Donald Trump foments division, buddies up with dictators, and is a failed businessman.
In an op-ed published on NBC News, Steele, who served as his party's top official between January 2009 and January 2011, opened by noting that he is an "American, a conservative and a Republican, in that order."
He went on to write about growing up in the Black community, which almost universally supports Democrats, even though he himself saw more value in the platform of the Republicans.
"I recognized that the values articulated by President Ronald Reagan echoed those of my mother — a sharecropper's daughter who worked in a laundry," he wrote.
He then went on to lay out some key points in his life and career of advocating for conservative principles, including his time at the top of his party.
Now, however, he can no longer support the Republican's candidate.
Steele noted that the country is in the middle of multiple crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and a shattered economy. He feels Trump is not bringing leadership qualities expected of a president in such times.
Rather than try to heal the country's wounds, Trump "exacerbates division." Instead of standing up to dictators, Trump "cravenly seeks the favor of thugs." As a president of a party that favors free enterprise, Trump failed as a businessman, losing a billion dollars running a casino. And rather than embracing the principles of the GOP, Trump has effectively turned the party's platform into nothing more than "a celebration of him," Steele wrote.
He did concede that Trump and the Republican party are correct on a few things. For example, Steele reiterated the belief among the right that "much of middle America is, in fact, viewed by coastal elites with a mixture of condescension and contempt."
He also noted that, though he's voting for him, he does not see eye to eye with Joe Biden on several issues and policies, and that he intends to fight him on those. But in the meantime, he feels this election is not about policy or politics, but about the very heart of the nation.
"It is my fervent hope that he will pursue policies that will help our country heal," he noted.
Steele concluded by referencing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true," he quoted, after which the former RNC chairman added "character matters" and "America matters."