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Why a longtime GOP casino executive crossed over

MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren AP

The chief executive officer of the company that owns one of the biggest casino resorts on the Coast has doubled down on his endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, the owner of Beau Rivage in Biloxi, never mentions Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, by name in an op-ed published Monday on USAToday.com.

Murren says he’s voted for a Democrat, “a gut-wrenching decision,” only a few times and this is the first time he’s publicly endorsed anyone for president.

“But this year it’s an easy choice,” he wrote. “I’m going to put my country ahead of my party by voting for Hillary Clinton.”

This is not the first time Murren and Trump have wound up on opposites of an issue. They’re competitors in the casino business, too.

MGM will soon open MGM National Harbor, about 11 miles from Trump’s Old Post Office hotel in Washington.

“We’ll blow that away,” Murren told reporters in January.

Murren said he likes Clinton’s positions better than Trump’s on trade, immigration and women’s issues.

“The other candidate,” he wrote of Trump, “seems determined to needlessly antagonize our allies and trading partners by pledging to tear up NAFTA and other hard-won trade agreements.

“Second, as the head of a company that competes globally in the gaming, hospitality and tourism industries, I know that diversity and inclusion are imperatives from the standpoint of both morality and business. Within the gaming sector, 45 percent of our industry’s employees are minorities and nearly half — 48 percent — are women. In my company, 66 percent of our workforce is ethnically diverse. Clinton will stand up for women and minorities as essential contributors to America’s economy.”

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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