June 25, 2020 / 6:19 PM / 16 days ago

Former Trump 2016 Republican rival Fiorina to back Biden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Carly Fiorina, a formal rival of Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, plans to cast her vote for Democrat Joe Biden in November.

FILE PHOTO: Former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S. February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“I’ve been very clear that I can’t support Donald Trump,” Fiorina told The Atlantic magazine in an interview published on Thursday.

Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard Co chief executive, fell in line behind Trump like many Republicans in his 2016 race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Since then, she has become increasingly critical and last year called for his impeachment.

“I am encouraged that Joe Biden is a person of humility and empathy and character. I think he’s demonstrated that through his life,” Fiorina told The Atlantic. “And I think we need humility and empathy everywhere in public life right now. And I think character counts.”

While Trump insulted a number of his 16 Republican rivals in the 2016 presidential campaign, Fiorina was the target of what was arguably one of the nastiest swipes.

“Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?” Trump said, according to Rolling Stone magazine, of the only woman candidate in the Republican field.

Trump dismissed the news of Fiorina’s backing Biden, calling her on Twitter a “failed presidential candidate” who “lost so badly to me.”

Fiorina is the latest Republican to publicly split with the party’s president as the country faces widespread protests over police brutality against Black Americans, the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp economic downturn.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who served under Republican Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, has endorsed Biden. Trump’s former defense secretary, retired General Jim Mattis, denounced what he called Trump’s “deliberate” efforts to divide the country.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski has said she was “struggling” with whether to support Trump’s re-election, while Republican Senator Mitt Romney praised Mattis’ words.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Leslie Adler

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