In a statement released Tuesday night, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO and major Republican fundraiser Meg Whitman endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, saying that GOP nominee Donald Trump was "reckless" and would "endanger our prosperity and national security." The New York Times was the first to report the billionaire businesswoman's decision to switch political teams, six years after she ran her own unsuccessful campaign to be governor of California as a Republican. Whitman criticized fellow Republicans who were sticking by Trump for the sake of the party, stating: "To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division. Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character."
Whitman's announcement that she would back Clinton appeared to be as much as, if not more of, a denunciation of Trump than a stamp of approval of Clinton. In it, she stated:
Trump’s reckless and uninformed positions on critical issues – from immigration to our economy to foreign policy – have made it abundantly clear that he lacks both the policy depth and sound judgment required as President. Trump’s unsteady hand would endanger our prosperity and national security. His authoritarian character could threaten much more.
Whitman's statement continued, "Therefore, I have decided to support Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is clear to me that Secretary Clinton’s temperament, global experience and commitment to America’s bedrock national values make her the far better choice in 2016 for President of the United States." You can read it in full below:
Whitman joins a recent string of prominent Republicans who have said they will be supporting Clinton in November. Hours before Whitman said she would be casting her vote for the Democratic nominee in the presidential election, Rep. Richard Hanna became the first Republican in Congress to announce he would be crossing the aisle and backing Clinton in the general election. In an op-ed published on Syracuse.com, the three-term congressman from New York wrote:
Where do we draw the line? I thought it would have been when he alleged that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was caught. Or the countless other insults he's proudly lobbed from behind the Republican presidential podium. For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.
Close aides to both Chris Christie and Jeb Bush have also said that they will not vote for Trump. Sally Bradshaw, a top adviser to Bush, announced this week that she had switched party affiliation, telling CNN, "This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president." Former Christie adviser Maria Comella also told CNN this week that Trump was a "demagogue" and that "if our party has a future, we have to change that trajectory and lead by example,”