Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security and a former GOP governor of Pennsylvania, said this weekend he plans to vote for Joe Biden for president, marking the first time he will vote for a Democrat in a presidential election.
He also slammed President Donald Trump on Monday after The New York Times published an expose detailing the president's tax history and business losses, saying he is not surprised by the findings.
"[What] I find probably more troubling than anything is that in 2015 and 2016 during the campaign, he had said, 'Well, I'm going to release my tax records,'" Ridge told CNN's "New Day" Monday. "He certainly doesn't live the lifestyle of limited income although he's paying taxes as if he has limited income and professes to be different, but he has no empathy and no transparency there. That's probably more disturbing than anything else."
Ridge, while announcing his decision, posted on Twitter Sunday that "It’s time to put country over party. It's time to dismiss Donald Trump."
He also wrote about his decision in an opinion piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he said he considers it a point of pride to be among one of the first Republicans to reject Trump, pointing out that he told NBC's Chuck Todd in 2015 he could never support him.
Ridge also in the piece compared the coronavirus pandemic to his leadership in the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks, while crediting President George W. Bush for unifying the country and accusing Trump of falling short.
On Monday, Ridge told CNN that Trump never wanted to be president and shows "absolutely no appreciation whatsoever for the religious, racial, and social diversity of America."
He said he voted for neither Trump nor Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, but this time, the coronavirus and several other issues have pushed him toward voting for Biden.
"[Trump has] never appealed to the better angel of our natures," said Ridge. "Leaders respond and react in times of crisis. This is the first crisis he had, and he hasn't led us through this at all."
Ridge also said he opposes Trump's push against mail-in voting.
"I wanted to appeal to my friends in Pennsylvania, Republicans and Democrats, your votes will count," said Ridge. "We have guardians of democracy at the local level ... vote, vote, vote, whether it's absentee or in person, vote."
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