Former George W. Bush Staffers Form PAC to Back Joe Biden

A group of former officials of the George W. Bush administration have come together to do what they once would have considered unthinkable—endorsing a Democratic candidate for president—and in a stinging rebuke to the president, are raising money for Joe Biden.

The new super PAC, called 43 Alumni for Biden, submitted paperwork Monday listing Karen Kirksey, a former Treasury Department official, as treasurer. It is not yet clear whether the group has raised any funds, but its formation is the latest sign of growing trouble for Republicans and for Trump.

Several members of the super PAC told Newsweek that Bush's stewardship during 9/11 illustrates his understanding that he needed to rally the country at the moment of its greatest need—a contrast, they said, with Trump's "law and order" approach during the current crisis.

They said they knew Bush well enough not to need him to explicitly say to them he was rejecting Trump's leadership because of the statement he made with former first lady Laura Bush about their public anguish over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and by Bush's own veiled rebuke of President Donald Trump's handling of the protests, when he said the voices of those who are hurting and grieving must be heard. "Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America—or how it becomes a better place," he said.

"It must be very sad for him to see what is happening right now, to see more division, more threats, more violence from the current occupant of the White House, who would use the military against our own people, said former United States Treasurer Rosario Marin. "He must witness it in horror."

Bush's spokesman did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Bush and many of the super PAC's supporters—which include 162 members on a private Facebook page—have not backed Trump from the start. Marin, for example, was one of the few who endorsed Clinton in 2016, but others quietly did not support Trump.

While the Trump campaign did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment, Steve Cortes, a spokesman for the America First PAC, which supports the president, said the group's support for Biden isn't surprising.

"We ran in 2016 against establishment, entrenched interests in Washington, some of whom claimed to be Republicans," he told Newsweek. "If these so-called conservatives prefer Biden now, they reveal their true colors.

One member of the group used to be a part of the RNC's Hispanic Advisory Council supporting Trump in 2016, but left before the election because he disagreed with Trump's hardline immigration messaging. Texas-based lawyer Jacob Monty—who has donated to Republicans since 1997—held a fundraiser for Biden in February, when the campaign's prospects were most tenuous.

"It makes perfect sense for the good of the country to support Biden but I'm still a Republican," Monty told Newsweek, before turning to what a Bush endorsement of Biden would mean. "I think it would be very powerful not only for the Latino community that he has a strong sway with, but also with the population in general."

Abel Guerra, who worked at the White House and set up Bush's memorable first pitch at Yankee Stadium after 9/11, pointed to a September Washington Post op-ed he wrote to explain why he backed Biden. Latinos, he said, don't feel welcome in a party that "condones racism" and looks away while Trump "destroys America."

"The once-proud party of Lincoln, established to abolish slavery, has been transformed into a comatose crew brainwashed by white identity politics and narrow-minded nationalist nostalgia," he wrote.

With or without Bush's endorsement of Biden, the super PAC will continue to do its work.

"We as alumni don't need direction, it's not a left or right issue, it's a right or wrong issue," he told Newsweek. "I hate to use the word 'trump,' but your integrity should always trump loyalty."

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Former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and National Constitution Center Executive Committee Chairman Doug DeVos (right) present George W. Bush and Laura Bush the 2018 Liberty Medal at The National Constitution Center on November 11, 2018, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)/Getty