In a surprising move, former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder backed Joe Biden for president on Thursday, choosing to support the Democratic nominee over Republican President Donald Trump.
Snyder said Trump had “been leading the charge on incivility. The divisiveness in our nation has not been worse in our lifetimes,” Snyder told The Associated Press after he announced his decision in a USA Today op-ed.
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In the op-ed, Snyder — who is known for staying positive — was uncharacteristically critical of Trump. He called him a “bully,” saying it is “tragedy watching our world suffer from one.”
The announcement from Snyder, who served in battleground Michigan from 2011 through 2018, came in conjunction with the launch of Republicans and Independents for Biden, a coalition of nearly 100 former and current “Never Trump” officeholders, government officials, and political operatives. The group is affiliated and funded by the anti-Trump Lincoln Project PAC.
The coalition is the latest group of Republicans supporting Biden to come out publicly as Trump comes under criticism for his handling of the coronavirus and race relations. Many had also backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Snyder did not endorse a candidate in that race, when Trump became the first Republican to win Michigan in 28 years, by roughly two-tenths of a percentage point.
In a tweet, Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox dismissed Snyder’s decision, calling him “Mr. Irrelevant” and saying no voter cares whom he supports. Trump “won in ’16 w/o him and will do in ’20!” she said.
In an interview, Snyder said he tried to have an open mind about Trump but when he attended his inauguration, the president talked about “how he was going to take care of the people that voted for him. It wasn’t about representing all Americans.”
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He said he had good relationships with some people in Trump’s administration but it was “challenged” overall in getting things done for Michigan, with some exceptions.
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The Associated Press contributed to this article