The Orlando Sentinel offered a stunning apology Friday for endorsing Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., after he joined more than 100 GOP lawmakers in backing a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Waltz was one of 126 House Republicans who filed an amicus brief supporting Texas' lawsuit against Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan as part of President Trump's ongoing legal battle to reverse the election outcome.
In a scathing op-ed, the Sentinel's editorial board published a mea culpa for previously supporting the congressman's reelection.
"We apologize to our readers for endorsing Michael Waltz in the 2020 general election for Congress," the editorial board began. "We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy."
The paper explained. "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?' Our bad."
The Sentinel accused Waltz and his fellow Republicans of seeking to "undo 231 years of election tradition and norms so their guy, Donald Trump, can have another four years in office." They also suggested they had backed the lawsuit in order to prevent the sitting president from sending out a "mean tweet that might torpedo their chances for reelection," and called it a "cowardly betrayal of American ideals."
The editorial board explained that it endorsed Waltz for his "seeming pragmatism" and his willingness to work with Democrats, but had since realized that his participation in crashing a congressional hearing during Trump's impeachment was a "red flag" that "Waltz’s loyalty isn’t to the Constitution but to a president whose flaws are deep, profound and dangerous."
"So is Waltz — dangerous. Should the Supreme Court go along with this gambit he supports and cast aside the votes of Americans in four states, the resulting civil upheaval could be disastrous. It could take generations for the nation to recover," the Sentinel warned. "We don’t pretend that our endorsement in Waltz’s District 6 race had much influence. The four-county district is heavily Republican, and [Democrat Clinton] Curtis never really had a chance. But endorsements also serve as a way to take stock of a candidate’s values and beliefs."
The paper continued, "We now know what we didn’t then — that Waltz, a U.S. Army Green Beret who served his country — is willing to undermine the nation to ensure his political party remains in control of the White House ... Everyone who supported Michael Waltz for Congress should feel a deep sense of remorse and regret. We do."
Waltz fired back during his appearance on "The Story with Martha MacCallum," taking exception to the paper's claim that he isn't "committed to democracy."
"Well, I think multiple tours in Afghanistan, Africa, and others, shows my commitment," Waltz told Fox News' Martha MacCallum. "So you know what, Orlando Sentinel. You can keep your endorsement. I don't need it. And all the bipartisan things we've worked on that they endorsed I guess are tossed out when you disagree with the mainstream media."
He continued, "I'm not dangerous... A media that is so in the bag for the other side and stop reporting the news is what's dangerous for this country."
Friday evening, the Supreme Court rejected Texas' motion for leave to file its complaint against the four states in question, effectively declining to hear the case.