Republican leaders need to put the priorities of the country ahead of their party for the sake of the nation's future
The actions and temperament of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have some people very worried. Among them are key members of the Republican Party itself, who have had to deal with the fallout directly from a candidate who is making them look bad -- up and down the ticket.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was thrown some major shade (as the kids like to say) by Trump when the latter refused to give his endorsement to the former.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump said. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
The comments mirror those of what Speaker Ryan said earlier this year, when he said he wasn’t ready to endorse Trump yet. “I'm just not ready to do that at this point’” Ryan told CNN in May. “I'm not there right now.”
Ryan later relented and endorsed Trump, but earlier this week I wrote about how Ryan now needs to “un-endorse” Trump due to how terrible a leader he would be, not just for the Republican Party but for the nation itself. Paul Ryan, to put it bluntly, needs to stop thinking about a win for Republicans, and should instead concentrate on just what a Trump presidency might mean for the nation.
That other prominent Wisconsin Republicans -- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Gov. Scott Walker, among many others -- refuse to also renege on their respective pledges to support Trump as their nominee demonstrates a disturbing trend among members of the GOP to put their party’s political fortunes above the nation’s interests.
One Wisconsin Now tweeted out this image earlier today, a list of terrible things Trump had done in the preceding 24 hours (at that time), and noted how Gov. Walker still hadn’t seen it as necessary to disown Trump as the Republican candidate:
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How they react to this type of behavior is a test for Republicans across the state as well as the nation. Years from now, we may even give this sort of thing a name -- the “Trump test” -- to determine whether someone is formulating opinions on candidates based on their policy stances, or if their support is lent out solely on the basis of the letter (R or D) following their names, even in the face of crazy and bizarre statements or actions from said candidates.
Walker, Johnson and Ryan have all failed this Trump test. They have, to their credit, spoken out about his more brazen behavior and statements. But as these incidents keep piling on, they continue to favor Trump as their preference for president in spite of the fact that he’d make a terrible leader for this nation.
I’m not naive enough to think that they’d endorse his direct opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. But I am frightful of the idea that these state and national Republican leaders are ready to support a disastrous candidate in Trump simply because he’s the Republican option. And other Wisconsinites should be similarly frightful.
What does it say of their characters, that they’d embrace such a dangerous person to lead our country? We deserve answers. And if they refuse to answer, or to change course, we deserve new leadership in their places.