Tuesday, December 8, 2015

GOP: Fire Trump!

How far will Donald J. Trump have to go before Republicans disqualify him from their party?  Trump is the leading candidate to become the party's nominee for president.   Therefore, what Trump says, what he does, and the positions he holds, are a reflection on the Republican Party.   

Trump has called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."  This ban includes American citizens who are Muslim and are out of the country.  Trump explained, “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”

The Republican frontrunner has suggested closing mosques, requiring Muslims in America to register with the government, and banning Syrian refugees from entering this country.  Previously, Trump has said he will build a wall along the southern border with Mexico to stop illegal entries.  His rationale is, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best...They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” 

In the past, Trump has been an outspoken leader of the so-called "birther movement" that believes President Barack Obama is not an American by birth.  43% of all Republicans polled believe the president is a Muslim, which is in sync with what Trump says about the president.  In 2011 Trump told Fox News, "He doesn't have a birth certificate.  He may have one, but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim."  Trump also disparaged Obama's 2008 presidential opponent by suggesting that Arizona Senator John McCain is not a war hero. 

Yet, no matter how harsh or outrageous Trump's comments, according to recent polls he remains a strong as ever.  The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Trump had picked up the backing of "neo-Fascists" in an article headlined "The New Furor."  Meanwhile, Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. plays right into the hands of ISIS and other Islamic radical groups seeking to recruit new members from around the world.  

Many Western leaders have spoken out against Trump's plan.  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday tweeted that, "Trump, like others, stokes hatred and conflations: our ONLY enemy is radical Islamism." British Prime Minister David Cameron, through a spokesperson, said that Trump's plan is, "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong."  A German newspaper editorial headline read: "How Donald Trump is betraying America."  "For some Jews, the sight of thousands of supporters waving their fists in anger as Trump incited against Muslims and urged a blanket ban on their entry to the United States could have evoked associations with beer halls in Munich a century ago," Chemi Shalev wrote in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.

Some of Trump's opponents, who have to date been fairly reticent about his previous comments for fear of alienating his supporters, have been moved to speak out.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they are talking about. We do not need to resort to that type of activity nor should we." Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tweeted, "Donald Trump is unhinged. His 'policy' proposals are not serious."

House Speaker Paul Ryan made a rare comment on the presidential campaign from Capitol Hill.  "Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle," he said.  "This is not conservatism.  What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it's not what this country stands for."

But Trump is the leading Republican candidate for president so his comments might be what the party stands for.  In fact, Trump is not going away unless the party intervenes.  Unfortunately, the Republican Party has made its own bed.  It has done nothing to reign in hateful and personal attacks that have characterized the national political scene for the past two national elections.   The Grand Old Party, which has divided the country for political gain, now finds itself in a meltdown.

The only way the Republican Party can save itself is to tell Donald J. Trump, "You're fired!"  

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