The dominating image and personality of Republican nominee Donald Trump have defined the 2016 presidential race, and for some of what he has shown us we should be thankful.
The fact that millions of Americans have joined his anti-establishment, anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-free-trade, anti-news media message must open our eyes to how truly unhappy many of our neighbors are.
Many sincerely believe our economy and our leaders have not and will not treat them fairly. They are angry. Our next president, no matter who it is, must change that.
Still, most of what Trump has shown us has been so dark, so negative, so lacking in the knowledge and demeanor essential in our president that we must urge our readers to reject him.
He has said and done so many things during the course of his campaign, from outright bullying his GOP rivals (“little Marco” and “lyin’ Ted”) to fanning the flames of bigotry (“rapist” Mexicans) to truly repugnant comments about women, that we have taken his measure and found it not only lacking in moral standards but profoundly dangerous to our nation and its highest office.
Should his mouth, so unfettered by reason or humility, be loosed on the world with the power of the Oval Office behind it, we could hardly blame friendly nations for withholding trust or unfriendly ones for raising their guard.
Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. Before the year was out he would say Mexican immigrants are criminals, that John McCain is not a war hero because he was captured and that he knows more about ISIS than our generals. He mocked a handicapped reporter, called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and aligned himself with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He was just getting started.
In the next few months he would favor torture, comment on the size of his genitals on national TV, demean the wife of Sen. Ted Cruz, insult the president and people of Mexico by insisting they would pay for a wall between our two countries despite their objection, cast doubt on our NATO commitments, lashed out at the parents of a Muslim U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, hinted that “Second Amendment people” could eliminate Hillary Clinton and, as we all know, was exposed as bragging about assaulting women.
There’s a reason the real issues about running our country have taken a back seat in this election campaign.
It’s Trump’s inability to devote more than brief and shallow attention to those issues before diverting the conversation to absurdity — like saying if he wins Clinton will be jailed or claiming the election is rigged and balking when asked whether he will accept its ultimate result.
Trump may say this election is about “America First,” and we all must learn from that. We must pay attention to the millions of Americans who have rallied to that message.
But we need a president who is more than a slogan. We need a leader.
Many of his followers say they like Trump because he makes no attempt to be “politically correct.” In a troubled world, a troubled economy and a nation that needs sound domestic policy, Trump is not correct for anything.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends rejecting Donald Trump for president.