Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has portrayed a dark and divisive vision of America and has become both an inspiration and a vehicle for unapologetic racists. In no small part due to the climate of intolerance, hate, and ‘us versus them’ he has inspired, Trump campaign events and Trump-inspired acts of bigotry, intolerance, violence, and harassment have risen to such a volume that we have been tracking them on a “Trump Hate Map,” which we have had to update with unfortunate frequency over the past year.
It’s in this disturbing context, and with a litany of Trump-inspired acts of violence and hate in mind, that we view Trump’s 2nd Amendment comments yesterday. Separate from trying to assess Trump’s forethought, it is clear that the comments can easily be interpreted as a veiled threat against his opponent – who Trump continues to delegitimize at every opportunity.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “Donald Trump’s comments are further reminders that he is a man fundamentally unfit for the presidency and that there is no middle ground for Republicans when it comes to Trump and his campaign – if you are not publicly against Trump and the ugly forces and hate he gives voice to and incites, you are enabling him. As New York Times columnist David Brooks recently stated of the Republican fence-straddlers, ‘if you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots.’”
In light of these latest comments, key Republicans need to answer, once and for all, whether they think Donald Trump is actually fit for the U.S. presidency.
For those who are outright planning to vote for Trump in November, such as Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Richard Burr, Senator Ron Johnson, and Senator Pat Toomey, we ask: After these comments and all the others, do you really think Donald Trump is suited to be president? What will it take for you to repeal your endorsement? Is there anything Donald Trump could say or do that will compel you to change your mind?
For those who have attempted to straddle a line, such as Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Dean Heller, and Rep. Mike Coffman, we say: You say you cannot vote for Trump today, but you won’t rule out a change of heart. Do Trump’s latest comments convince you in any way that the candidate is simply unredeemable? Can you say definitively how you will vote on Trump this November?
For those who have abstained from taking a position either way, like former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, we say: As former presidents, you more than anyone must know how dangerous it is to even suggest violence toward a potential world leader. Do Trump’s latest comments finally move you from “abstention” to taking a principled stand against Donald Trump?