Some big-name Republicans said they’re thinking they may not vote for President Donald Trump this fall.
One of them is Rep. Francis Rooney, who represents a large portion of Southwest Florida.
Rooney said the president has mishandled the coronavirus pandemic and is taking the wrong approach to the recent demonstrations across the country.
For decades, Rooney has voted for the Republican candidate for president, but he told The New York Times he’s thinking about voting for Democrat Joe Biden on Nov. 3, because Trump is “driving us all crazy” and his handling of the virus led to a death toll that “didn’t have to happen.”
Jonathan Martin, chairman of the Lee County Republican Party, said he’s not surprised by Rooney’s apparent defection.
“I’ve known Francis Rooney for a few years now and he’s a very independent thinker,” Martin said.
Rooney told the Times that Biden feels safe. “What he’s always been is not scary. A lot of people that voted for President Trump did so because they did not like Hillary Clinton. I don’t see that happening with Joe Biden — how can you not like Joe Biden?”
“I think that Francis Rooney is way off with his not even support of Joe Biden, for his lack of support for Donald Trump,” Martin said.
He said the GOP doesn’t hate Rooney despite the congressman’s lack of support for Trump.
“We’re a group of very independent thinkers. We don’t punish people for not thinking a certain way. In fact, we encourage all kinds of diversity of thought.”
Martin said he isn’t worried about Rooney’s comments because once Rooney announced he isn’t running for reelection, he became “irrelevant.”
Rooney joins Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell in showing disappointment in Trump.