Ridge says a Republican who supports a Democrat for president is no less a Republican.By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, has endorsed his first Democrat for president.

Ridge penned an opinion piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer over the weekend, and on Monday afternoon, he spoke with KDKA political editor Jon Delano on why he’s voting for Joe Biden this year.

Ridge, who calls himself a Reagan Republican who served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania and America’s first Homeland Security Secretary, says some things are more important than policy positions.

“Before public policy, character, integrity, civility, leadership,” says Ridge.

These are qualities, he says, President Donald Trump lacks, and that are exemplified by Trump’s demonizing those who oppose him. Ridge cites his own experience as governor of a diverse state.

“My job wasn’t just to appeal to the voters who cast their votes for me. Your job and your responsibility is to try to lead in the context of everybody – Rs, Ds, Independents – those who support you and those who don’t,” Ridge said. “That’s where Trump has been a huge failure.”

Ridge contrasts that with Biden’s style and demeanor.

“I know him well enough to know he’s a decent, honorable man. I think there’s a humanity to him. I think there’s a sense of propriety,” Ridge said.

The Pennsylvania Republican knows he won’t agree with all of Biden’s policies.

“I think the vice president would know that some of the crazy left wing things that people are saying around him, I could never subscribe to. And if I ever have a strong disagreement with the vice president, if he’s elected president, I will certainly be public about my disagreement,” Ridge said.

Ridge says a Republican who supports a Democrat for president is no less a Republican.

“I don’t believe in this whole notion that you are either for me or against me all of the time or you’re a bad Republican. It’s nonsense,” says Ridge. “A party that doesn’t tolerate dissent within its ranks is doomed to failure over the long term.”