Florida newspaper issues retraction of its endorsement of political candidate

The paper had endorsed Republican Rep. Michael Waltz back in October.

December 12, 2020, 2:22 PM

One of Florida's largest newspapers has retracted its endorsement of a Republican congressman after learning that he had cosigned an amicus brief shipped to the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn the presidential election.

The Orlando Sentinel had endorsed Florida Rep. Michael Waltz back in October, but rescinded its endorsement of the congressman in an op-ed Friday and apologized to its readers.

PHOTO: Rep. Michael Waltz speaks to the crowd before the arrival of President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Sanford, Fla., Oct. 12, 2020.
Rep. Michael Waltz speaks to the crowd before the arrival of President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Sanford, Fla., Oct. 12, 2020.
Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

"We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy," read the op-ed. "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 comes after the paper learned of Waltz's support of an amicus brief spearheaded by the state of Texas and propped up by Republican allies of President Donald Trump. The suit -- which sought to throw out millions of votes in four states and overturn Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election --- was denied by the Supreme Court on Friday. The court rejected the lawsuit citing a lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution.

The president's allies, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who took the lead in filing the lawsuit, alleged that four battleground states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia "exploited the COVID-19 pandemic" to improperly loosen election rules and skew the contest's outcome.

PHOTO: Rep. Michael Waltz attends a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Sept.30, 2020.
Rep. Michael Waltz attends a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Sept.30, 2020.
CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE

The decision came just days before the electoral college is set to meet and finalize the presidential selection, and effectively shut down what the president had called "perhaps the most important case in history."

Rep. Waltz joined more than 120 of his Republican colleagues across 17 states in support of the amicus brief. In an interview with the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Waltz cited several reasons for supporting the lawsuit, saying about the lawuit's allegations, "There is some real substance."

"They wanted to undo 231 years of election tradition and norms so their guy, Donald Trump, can have another four years in office," the paper wrote in its opinion, excoriating the suit.

PHOTO: Congressman Michael Waltz listens to a woman who says 2020 is her first time voting and she was supporting President Donald Trump and Republicans, Daytona Beach Fla., Nov. 3, 2020.
Congressman Michael Waltz listens to a woman who says 2020 is her first time voting and she was supporting President Donald Trump and Republicans, Daytona Beach Fla., Nov. 3, 2020.
Daytona Beach News-Journal via USA Today Network, FILE

In addition to Waltz and a raft of other state and national candidates, the Orlando Sentinel also endorsed Biden for president. Biden is the president-elect, having secured enough electors to win the Electoral College vote on Dec. 14

"Every American should be appalled at the attempted usurpation, and at elected officials taking part in this terrifying fiasco and violating their oath to protect the country from enemies, foreign and domestic," the op-ed continued. "Everyone who supported Michael Waltz for Congress should feel a deep sense of remorse and regret. We do."

ABC News requested comment from Rep. Waltz's office.

ABC News' Devin Dwyer,Olivia Rubin and Matthew Mosk contributed to this report.

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