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Former Republican Governor Of Michigan On Why He Is Endorsing Biden For President


This year's Democratic conventions kicked off with numerous prominent Republicans backing Joe Biden, led by former Ohio governor and Congressman John Kasich. Now another Republican leader from the Midwest is endorsing Biden for president - former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. His endorsement appeared this morning in USA Today, and he joins me now.


RICK SNYDER: It's great to be with you, Sacha.

PFEIFFER: Are you not simply opposed to Trump's reelection, but do you actually believe that a Biden presidency would usher in policies you like and could support as a Republican?

SNYDER: Well, I think there will be challenges. I'm not naive enough to know that we're going to agree on everything. I think he'll probably have policy positions I don't agree with. The question is, are we in an environment where leaders are going to listen and work together? And what I've seen from the Trump administration are policies that just don't work, largely, from public health to economic to foreign policy.

I hope that Joe Biden would support a number of things about growing our economy and things that I very much believe in. When he was vice president, we found common ground on issues such as workforce - on about helping develop the skilled trades more for people to get good, well-paying jobs. So I know there are common-ground issues. Will it be every issue? No. But are there enough issues to say it's better than we have today? I clearly believe that.

PFEIFFER: You mentioned the economy. You have a long history in business. You are not a lifelong politician. And there are many people who, even though they say they do not like Donald Trump - they think he's good for business, good for the economy, good for their investments. And for that reason, they plan to vote to reelect him. How do you sway that constituency to vote for Biden instead of Trump?

SNYDER: Well, I have a different perspective. I don't believe Donald Trump has a good perspective on the economy. Tax reform is an illustration. I used to be a tax person for a living. And a good tax system is simple, fair and efficient. What we got during a hot economy at that time was a whole bunch of provisions that essentially were helping special interests, that weren't helping most people in many capacities. So I don't think it met my criteria of simple, fair and efficient tax reform.

Again, there have been some good things on the regulatory side. It's not all one side or the other. There's a mixed bag. But overall, when I would hear him speak, when I'd be at events with him, his understanding of the economy was much back to the 1960s and '70s, not the economy of today and not the actions we need today and in the future to have continued growth.

PFEIFFER: Rick Snyder, you've said that your endorsement of Biden is not a repudiation of the Republican Party. You wrote this - I will continue to support and stand up for Republican policies and values and support Republican candidates. But the Republican National Committee has said - and this is a quote - that everyone should get behind, quote, "the president's "America First" agenda." Do you think that Republican Party is the same Republican Party that you feel like you're a part of?

SNYDER: I think the Republican Party of today is too much the party of Donald Trump as opposed to a Republican Party. And I hope it will return to more of its roots. It's got a long legacy and history, wonderful leaders. I mean, I mentioned that in the op-ed. Going back to when I turned 18, I was at the Republican National Convention. I got to see, essentially, a contest between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. And it was a tough, hard-fought contest, but there was civility. There was respect. And those are two great leaders. That's the kind of leadership we need back in our country.

PFEIFFER: The state of Michigan went for Trump in 2016. Why would those voters, in your view, vote for Biden this time around?

SNYDER: Last time - well, first, I think there are issues with both candidates. But beyond that, I think a lot of people were giving Donald Trump sort of the benefit of the doubt, looking that this is change coming from outside Washington. We've seen Donald Trump run our country now for four years. Has our country been run well? Is our country more - working well together and solving problems together? The answer is no. So now there's a four-year track record of lack of success. We can't stay on this path. Let's try something new. Let's try someone that's shown an ability to have people work together - Joe Biden.

PFEIFFER: That's former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, on why he's endorsing Joe Biden for president. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.