A month or so ago, Gov. John Bel Edwards declined to say whether he would vote for President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 3.
Asked again Thursday, Edwards paused, at length, before saying, “What’s your next question”?
The governor was then reminded that the Republican president had blasted him repeatedly as an out-of-touch liberal during three visits to the state last year in a failed attempt to derail Edwards’ re-election. Might the governor vote for Trump?
“No, you know that I’m not going to do that,” said Edwards, the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Louisiana.
He then acknowledged he would vote for Biden, but declined to elaborate on why.
Edwards was interviewed after a press conference Thursday at Lakefront Airport where he described the impact of Hurricane Zeta on metro New Orleans.
Biden, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, his vice presidential nominee, and other Democrats across the country have been lambasting and ridiculing Trump for months.
But Edwards has shied away from criticizing the president, mindful of Louisiana’s need for federal dollars this year to combat the coronavirus and to recover from the hurricanes – and also perhaps mindful of Trump’s willingness to punish Democrats perceived to be his political enemies. In fact, Edwards has gone out of his way to thank the president for his help.
“I don’t care who the leader is, you need to have the best possible working relationship with them if you want your request to be considered in the most favorable light,” Edwards told the Washington Post in April.
Trump has appreciated Edwards’ approach, telling conservative broadcaster Sean Hannity in March that Louisiana has “a very good governor” in Edwards.
As he has done several times this year, Edwards praised Trump on Wednesday for his quick approval of the governor’s request for federal assistance related to Hurricane Zeta.
“This assistance will be critical in responding to this hurricane, assisting local governments and beginning our long-term recovery efforts,” Edwards said.
Edwards and Trump had a respectful relationship during most of Edwards’ first term. But then the president tried to sway last year’s governor race in favor of businessman Eddie Rispone, the Republican, by repeatedly using inflammatory language in blasting Edwards.
“A vote for John Bel Edwards is a vote for radical leftists,” Trump told a crowd in Bossier City two days before the election.
Edwards had the last word by defeating Rispone.
“As for the president,” the governor said during his victory speech and then paused, “God bless his heart.”
Trump called Edwards the next day to offer him congratulations.