A group of George W. Bush alums has endorsed the presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead of the November presidential election.
The group is made up of around 200 officials and Cabinet secretaries who worked with George W. Bush during his tenure as president, as well as those who were part of his two election campaigns – both Republicans, Democrats, and independents. It launched a Super PAC on Wednesday, called 43 Alumni for Biden.
The group said in a press release that it “seeks to unite and mobilise a community of historically Republican voters who are dismayed and disappointed by the damage done to our nation by Donald Trump’s presidency”.
Karen Kirksey, the director of the 43 Alumni’s organising committee who worked on Bush’s 2000 campaign, said the endorsement of Biden is “not necessarily in full support of his political agenda but rather in full agreement with the urgent need to restore the soul of this nation”.
“For four years, we have watched with grave concern as the party we loved has morphed into a cult of personality that little resembles the party of Lincoln and Reagan”, she said, pledging to pursue a “civil, spirited debate” on political issues if Biden wins.
Jennifer Millikin, one of the group's organisers and a staffer on Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, said they were not ready to disclose the names of all the members and donors.
Since 43 Alumni announced their formation on 1 July, they will be required to reveal the list of initial donors to the Federal Election Commission in mid-October. Had the announcement come the day before, they would have had to provide the list by mid-July.
Millikin told Reuters that Bush’s office had been informed about the new PAC but will not be involved.
President Donald Trump has more than once criticised George W. Bush in the past. “We need another Bush in office about as much as we need Obama to have a 3rd term”, he tweeted back in 2013. “No more Bushes!”, he said.
He also pounced on the Bush administration’s handling of the 9/11 attacks and its invasion of Iraq during the 2016 campaign.
Another attack on the 43rd president came this May, when George W. Bush called for an end to partisanship amid the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, to which Trump replied: “I appreciate the message from former President Bush, but where was he during impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside”.
.@PeteHegseth “Oh bye the way, I appreciate the message from former President Bush, but where was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside.” @foxandfriends He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2020
43 Alumni is the most recent effort by Republicans to unseat the Republican president. In mid-June, a group of GOP operatives who previously worked in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations launched the “Right Side PAC”. The group said they would focus on swaying Republican voters toward Biden in battleground states such as Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In May, an initiative called Republican Voters Against Trump launched a $10-million project that produced multiple ads targeting Republican-leaning voters in top swing states.
And another Super Pac called the Lincoln Project was formed in late 2019 to run anti-Trump ads. The group notably includes George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, who serves as a counselor to Donald Trump.