Why this 'lifelong Republican' manufacturer is endorsing Biden for president
The list of conservatives who have endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump is a long one, ranging from former Sen. Jeff Flake to Cindy McCain (Sen. John McCain's widow) to former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and journalist George Will. Another is Mike Bowen, executive vice president of the Texas-based Prestige Ameritech. According to Bowen, Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic has "greatly increased death and suffering in America."
Prestige Ameritech is the largest producer of N-95 masks and respirators in the United States. Protective N-95 masks, designed for medical professionals, have been in heavy demand during the pandemic.
Bowen, who describes himself as a lifelong Republican, told HuffPost, "President Trump downplayed the virus, missed opportunities, and wasted precious time. He has also politicized the wearing of masks.... The man has politicized a life-saving medical device and has teased people for wearing it."
The Prestige Ameritech VP voted for Trump in 2016 but has since grown disenchanted with him and made it clear to HuffPost that he won't be voting for him a second time.
"Mr. Trump is a self-proclaimed 'genius' who prefers his own magical thinking to the advice of experts and scientists," Bowen told HuffPost. "The next time that there is a scientifically-minded Republican presidential candidate, I will vote for her or him. This time, however, there is only one scientifically minded person in the race. That person is Joe Biden."
In May, Bowen testified before Congress and said that the United States' reliance on medical masks manufactured outside the country had posed a national security risk for several years.
Another person who testified during that hearing was Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Bright had been ousted from BARDA in April for objecting to pressure from officials in Trump's administration who wanted BARDA to promote unproven treatments for COVID-19.
Bright told members of Congress, "I'll never forget the e-mails I received from Mike Bowen indicating that our mask supply, our N-95 respirator supply, was completely decimated. And he said, 'We're in deep shit. The world is. And we need to act'.... We were already behind the ball."