The Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board issued an apology Friday for endorsing Rep. Michael Waltz, one of the Republican members of Congress supporting President Donald Trump’s baseless crusade to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The apology, a highly unusual one from a newspaper, comes a day after Waltz joined eight other Florida Republicans in supporting a Texas lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to toss election results in four states where Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
We apologize to our readers for endorsing Michael Waltz in the 2020 general election for Congress.
We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy.
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?”
The editorial board added that “some variation of that question will be asked of anyone running for Congress in the future, particularly Republican candidates whose party is attempting to upend the way we choose a president.”
Waltz defended the lawsuit on Thursday and propped up Trump’s unfounded claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the election.
“For those who are saying this is threatening democracy,” he told The Daytona Beach News-Journal on Thursday, “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 Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board said it endorsed Waltz ahead of the November election because of his good working relationship with Democrats. It should have taken his missteps more seriously, the board wrote Friday.
We were impressed this year, as we were in 2018, with Waltz’s seeming pragmatism, though less impressed with his willingness to crash a congressional hearing during Trump’s impeachment proceedings.
We should have taken that hyperpartisan, juvenile lapse in judgment more seriously, given it more weight. Because it really was a red flag, a sign that Waltz’s loyalty isn’t to the Constitution but to a president whose flaws are deep, profound and dangerous.
There’s little chance of the Texas lawsuit coming out in Trump’s favor. The states have already certified the results, and the Supreme Court doesn’t appear willing to take up the fight.
“I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit,” Wisconsin’s attorney general, Josh Kaul, told The Associated Press.