Suzanne Dean, publisher of the Sanpete Messenger

Suzanne Dean, publisher of the Sanpete Messenger

Donald Trump must never become president of the United States

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

8-18-2016

 

I couldn’t possibly, in the space available, cite all the examples I’ve gathered of statements by Donald Trump that I find to be simplistic, mean, crass and dangerous.

There are many reasons why Donald Trump must never become president of the United States, such as his repeated business bankruptcies, unprincipled business practices, and the fact that over the past 10 years, his political statements have been all over the map.

But I believe his rhetoric alone is reason to reject him. I believe America can be, and at its core is, a civil, respectful society committed to democratic ideals. The president of the United States must model those values. Trump does not.

For starters, far from speaking respectfully, Trump mercilessly insults anyone he views as an adversary. For example, “Ted Cruz is a totally unstable individual. He is single biggest liar I’ve ever come across, in politics or otherwise, and I have seen some of the best of them. His statements are totally untrue and completely outrageous. It is hard to believe a person who proclaims to be a Christian could be so dishonest and lie so much.”

When it comes to women, Trump gets downright nasty and vulgar. After Megyn Kelly, an attorney and accomplished journalist for Fox News, a Republican-oriented, conservative network, asked Trump some perfectly legitimate questions, such as “When did you become a Republican?”, Trump attacked her.

“Well, I just don’t respect her as a journalist. I have no respect for her. I don’t think she’s very good. I think she’s highly overrated….She gets out and starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her (pause) wherever.”

And after some intemperate statements at a rally, Trump, knowing the press would report what he had said (as it has a responsibility to do), attacked the whole press gallery.

“Now you might say that wasn’t very nice,” he said. “Who cares? I can leave this scum, the press back here, they’re garbage. I don’t need them anymore. No, they’re scum.”

One attack that astonished me was against someone who isn’t even a Trump adversary. Sen. John McCain is serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate and was a Republican candidate for president, the post to which Trump aspires. Everybody knows that McCain spent five years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, where he was starved and tortured. When he returned to the United States after the war, he could barely walk with crutches.

Of McCain, Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” When ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz challenged Trump on his statement, Trump repeatedly called McCain a “dummy.”

In America, we respect people’s right to protest. Every politician deals with hecklers, and typically, police or security offices ask them to be quiet or leave.

But in a rally in Las Vegas, Trump all but advocated violent retaliation against a heckler. “We’re not allowed to punch back anymore,” he said. “I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks….I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”

Then there’s the litany of statements that, at their core, have to be regarded as racist.

Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Another time, Trump said, “We have many problems in our country. One of them is immigration. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists. And now we have Syrians. If I win, they’re going back. We can’t have them.”

Trump has made statements in years past that demonstrated he was well aware of David Duke, the one-time grand master of the Ku Klux Klan, who has tried to get nominated for president in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Duke put a post on Facebook endorsing Trump. Among numerous statements, the post said Trump would break up “Jewish dominated lobbies” and ensure “white Americans are allowed to preserve and promote their heritage and interests just as all other groups are allowed to do.”

Journalist Jake Tapper of CNN asked Trump whether he would disavow Duke and other white supremacist groups.

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK,” Trump responded.

After Tapper pressed him three times, Trump said, “I don’t know anything about what you’re talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know. Did he endorse me or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.”

Over the next few days, Trump was forced to disavow Duke and the KKK, but, to me, his statements sounded half-hearted. His tenor was, “OK, I disavowed him. So get off my back.”

A few days later, after the South Carolina primary, CNN reported a poll had showed 25 percent of South Carolina residents who voted for Trump believed slavery never should have been abolished. I have to wonder if there was a connection between that sentiment and Trump’s response to the Duke endorsement.

Then there are Trump’s simplistic statements about policies. He implies he can solve vexing national problems virtually with a wave of his hand.

On his impractical idea of building a wall the length of the 1,989-mile border between the United States and Mexico, including across many remote and mountainous areas, he says, “Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to the kind of money…I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us money (to build a wall). I’d build it. I’m very good at building.”

His economic program is even simpler. “I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created, I tell you….I will bring jobs back from China. I will bring jobs back from Japan. I will bring jobs back from Mexico. I’m going to bring jobs back, and I’ll start bringing them back very fast.”

Michael Leavitt, who spent decades in public service as Utah governor and secretary of health and human services, summed up the problem with such declarations.

“The reality is if Trump were elected,” Leavitt said, “he would be extraordinarily surprised at how much more complicated governing is than he makes it sound. If he is unable to produce on his rather outlandish commitments, the people who are enthused by his message now would be incredibly disappointed.”

What dumfounds me is how Trump is gathering such a huge national following.

On a CNN program last Sunday, Carl Bernstein of Woodward-and-Bernstein fame called the Trump phenomenon a cross between celebrity culture and neo-fascism.

A professor who did a study of Trump supporters found many believe in an authoritarian approach in other areas of life, such as child rearing.

Sadly, the most qualified candidate on the Republican stage is John Kasich. He has served in leadership roles in Congress and been a successful governor of a large industrial state. He is the most substantive of any of the candidates on policy and the most measured in rhetoric. No wonder he’s been endorsed by both the New York Times and Washington Post, organizations that, if I may say so, have a much closer view of what’s going on than you and I. Yet at the time of this writing, he was barely still in the race.

In summary, Donald Trump does not speak for me, and I don’t believe he speaks for most people in our county. I hope Sanpete Republicans will send that message when they vote in the Republican presidential preference caucuses on March 22.