Bill Cohen, a Republican who spent more than three decades representing Maine in Congress before becoming secretary of defense during former President Bill Clinton’s second term, has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president.
“We have a choice in November,” Cohen said in a statement released by the Biden campaign Wednesday. “Whether to go back to our dark past or reach for who we aspire to be — a country where it doesn’t matter where you came from, how you worship or who you love, a country where everyone matters.”
Cohen, 79, served in the House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979 before being elected to the Senate three times.
He became secretary of defense as part of Clinton’s bid to promote bipartisanship in military policy decisions. Before being nominated for the Defense Department role, Cohen announced he was not seeking reelection due to frustration over partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill.
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More recently, he’s been an outspoken critic of President Trump – and he endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, according to his hometown paper, the Bangor Daily News.
Earlier this summer, Cohen went public with his misgivings about a potential second term for President Trump – criticizing some of his actions as “the mark of a dictatorship,” blasting his coronavirus response and questioning his respect for the rule of law in an interview with WCSH in July.
“I’m voting for Joe Biden because our democracy is at stake,” Cohen said Wednesday. “Americans are suffering through the worst pandemic in a hundred years, a pandemic predicted to kill close to 200,000 Americans by Election Day due to poor management and failed leadership.”
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He argued that under four years of the Trump administration, the United States has “been shaken to the core.”
“We are in serious need of a leader with optimism and competence who gives us hope,” he concluded. “Joe Biden is that leader.”