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Voices Condemn Republicans’ Moral Cowardice in Backing Trump Despite Acknowledging His Racism

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Yesterday, we called on Republicans to rescind their support for Donald Trump, noting:

“Stand by Trump and you stand for racism. Stand by Trump and you are more interested in party and power than in defending our founding ideal that all men and women are created equal. Stand by Trump and you will be forever defined by your capitulation … it’s not enough to ‘disagree’ with Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel. What does it say about your priorities, your principles, and your moral convictions that you can recognize that Trump’s racism is unacceptable, yet are working to elect this man to the presidency?”

Today, a number of leading observers are making similar cases – noting that the overt racism of Trump is unacceptable in 2016 America and condemning Republican supporters of Trump for their untenable moral cowardice in continuing to support his candidacy. Among the key voices:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), per a report in the New York Times:

“Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another former primary rival of Mr. Trump’s, urged Republicans who have backed Mr. Trump to rescind their endorsements, citing the remarks about Judge Curiel and Mr. Trump’s expression of doubt on Sunday that a Muslim judge could remain neutral in the same lawsuit, given Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim noncitizens entering the country.

‘This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,’ Mr. Graham said. ‘If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it,’ he added. ‘There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.’”

Conservative strategist Bill Kristol in a new tweet:

“Official position of the leadership of the Republican Party: Trump is an inexcusable bigot, and Trump must be our next president.”

Ron Fournier column in The Atlantic, “Trump’s Endorsers Can’t Disown His Comments”:  

“These Republicans don’t get it. Racial and religious intolerance aren’t something to be ‘concerned about.’ They’re something to denounce and drive out of a political party—to banish to the fringes of the internet where, hopefully, they won’t infect the rest of society. Trump can’t make ‘course corrections.’ This is not 1992: He can’t ‘soften’ his views or ‘shift’ to the center. There is no pivot from depravity in the 21st century—not when voters are a few keystrokes removed from everything a politician has said or written or done. For Ryan, McConnell, and Priebus, and for every Republican candidate on a ballot in November, there is no pivot from Trump. They are him.”

Eugene Robinson, column in the Washington Post, “Endorsing Trump Will Leave a Mark”:

“GOP leaders who choose ‘party unity’ over principle should know that there is no way back; when you embrace Trump, you make a decision that will stay with you forever … I suspect that most of the establishment Republicans who now meekly support Trump believe he will lose, perhaps badly, and are positioning themselves for the aftermath. But that is no excuse for putting the nation in peril by endorsing Trump and thus bettering his chances, even incrementally. He’s not going to change. He’s not going to become presidential, he’s not going to grow a thicker skin, he’s not going to take an interest in policy or become less of a bigot. He’s not going to temper his language or close his Twitter account. Donald Trump turns 70 next week. He is who he is. The question for those who cynically support him: Who are you?”

George Will syndicated column, “The ‘Big Price’ Paul Ryan has Paid for Supporting Donald Trump

“The Caligulan malice with which Donald Trump administered Paul Ryan’s degradation is an object lesson in the price of abject capitulation to power. This episode should be studied as a clinical case of a particular Washington myopia — the ability of career politicians to convince themselves that they and their agendas are of supreme importance … Since May 5, the Hamlet of southeastern Wisconsin had indeed learned something. He had learned Trump’s contemptuous response to his scruples. Trump’s response was an insouciant intensification of his anti-institutional politics — the judicial system, too, is ‘rigged.’ Ryan limply described Trump’s attack on the judge as thinking ‘out of left field’ that he could not ‘relate to.’ … Some say in extenuation of Ryan’s behavior that if he could not embrace Trump, he could not continue as speaker. But is Ryan, who was reluctant to become speaker, now more indispensable to the nation’s civic health than Trump is menacing to that health? Ryan could have enhanced that health by valuing it above his office.”

Bret Stephens, columnist and editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal: “The GOP’s Mexico Derangement

“This is a foul electoral season, one conservative voters (or their children) will look back on with political regret and personal remorse. Mr. Trump’s ‘Mexican’ slur about federal judge Gonzalo Curiel is the most shameful word uttered by a major presidential candidate since Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond thundered in 1948 against the ‘Nigra race.’ As in 1948, Mr. Trump is appealing to constituents who have stuffed themselves on a diet of bad statistics and misleading anecdotes—people who fancy themselves victims but behave like bigots. Republican leaders who think they can co-opt or tame Mr. Trump will instead find themselves stained by him. Meanwhile, let’s state clearly what shouldn’t need saying but does: Americans are blessed to have Mexico as our neighbor and Hispanics as our citizens. On this point, disagreement is indecency.”

Jennifer Rubin’s column in the Washington Post, “If Only a Few Republicans Had Led, and Not Followed Trump”:

“The most disturbing part of the Donald Trump phenomenon is the abysmal reaction of others on the right and across our political-media landscape. It is not merely left-wing protesters who turn violent or Trumpkin racists and anti-Semites on social media who should alarm us. Rather, it should concern us when so many wake up to say, ‘Let’s do the wrong, cowardly thing’ … Instead of principled leadership, we have had mass followership, a display of widespread moral idiocy. Make a buck. Preserve your ‘political viability.’ ‘Unify’ the party. It is ironic that one of the icons of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, had this phenomenon pegged almost 300 years ago when he said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ In this case it was worse; good men behaved badly, facilitating evil. From our vantage point, a post-Trump conservative party will need to repudiate the institutional conduct of the RNC, Trump and his backers. In simplest terms it will need to restore virtue and character as the fundamental prerequisites of public leadership. It will be more difficult because having nominated Trump, the GOP and the country will have reset our tolerance for moral and intellectual sloth.”