Saturday, December 12, 2020

‘Our bad’: Florida newspaper apologises for endorsement of Congressman backing Texas Supreme Court election lawsuit. (The Independent)

‘Our bad’: Florida newspaper apologises for endorsement of Congressman backing Texas Supreme Court election lawsuit Justin Vallejo The Independent December 11, 2020 The Orlando Sentinel issued a public apology for endorsing Republican Michael Waltz after the Congressman supported the Texas Supreme Court lawsuit against the presidential election. Mr Waltz was one of 126 GOP to sign an amicus brief supporting the legal challenge to results in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. It prompted a mea culpa from the Sentinel for endorsing one of the nine Florida Republican members of Congress who signed on to support the lawsuit. "We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy," the editorial began. "During our endorsement interview with the incumbent congressman, we didn’t think to ask, ‘Would you support an effort to throw out the votes of tens of millions of Americans in four states in order to overturn a presidential election and hand it to the person who lost, Donald Trump?’ Our bad." While Mr Waltz did not immediately respond to The Independent's request for comment, he previously told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that the Texas lawsuit was legitimate and thorough. He pointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's rule changes to mail-in ballots and statistical anomalies in Michigan's Wayne County, and said any American, including supporters of Joe Biden, should want the questions answered so the country can move forward. "We have now literally dozens of people, many of which are registered independents, so they’re not some type of partisan political hack, that are under affidavit, swearing under oath, threat of jail, that they saw a number of irregularities," Mr Waltz said. "For those who are saying this is threatening democracy, I think ignoring them or sweeping them under the rug is bad for our democracy and restoring the confidence by working through these issues is what’s good for a democracy. And I think that’s exactly what we should do." The lawsuit filed by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton asks the Supreme Court to block electors from the four states who he says violated the Constitution by rushing through changes to mail-in voting procedures that were not approved by the state legislatures. The suit is supported by Donald Trump and at least 17 states, including Florida, that have filed motions to be included as plaintiffs on the Texas lawsuit. The amicus brief supported by 126 GOP was circulated by Congressman Mike Johnson and has been signed by Republican leadership including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, minority whip Steve Scalise and Republican Policy Committee chairman Gary Palmer. "The simple objective of our brief is to affirm for the court (and our constituents back home) our serious concerns with the integrity of our election system," Mr Johnson wrote in an email circulating the brief. "We are not seeking to independently litigate the particular allegations of fraud in our brief (this is not our place as amici). We will merely state our belief that the broad scope of the various allegations and irregularities in the subject states merits careful, timely review by the Supreme Court." While noting support for the Texas lawsuit from large swathes of the Republican Party, the Orlando Sentinel said their efforts would undo 231 years of tradition and norms so the president could stay in office for a second term. The newspaper endorsed the Republican over his "fairly dismal" Democrat opponent, Clint Curtis, partly because of Mr Waltz's pragmatism and ability to find common ground with other Democrats. The rescinded endorsement was signed by the Orlando Sentinel's editorial board, which consists of editor-in-chief Julie Anderson and opinion editor Mike Lafferty, as well as Jennifer A Marcial Ocasio, Jay Reddick, and David Whitley. "We now know what we didn’t then — that Waltz, a US Army Green Beret who served his country — is willing to undermine the nation to ensure his political party remains in control of the White House," they wrote. "Everyone who supported Michael Waltz for Congress should feel a deep sense of remorse and regret. We do."

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