In the category of credit where credit is due, Donald Trump has been exactly right in one important respect. He attacked the Republican establishment as low-energy, cowering weaklings. Now Republican leaders are lining up to surrender to him — like low-energy, cowering weaklings. The capitulation has justified the accusation.
It would be impolite to name names. So I should not mention that former Texas governor Rick Perry, who now angles for Trump’s vice presidential nod, once said: “He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken — Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” I should resist the temptation to recall how Rep. Peter King (N.Y.), who now (reluctantly) backs Trump, once asserted he is “not fit to be president, morally or intellectually.”
Singling out individuals is unfair in so great a company. One by one, Republican senators have made their peace with a Trump nomination. Many in the House GOP leadership and caucus have urged Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) to get it over with and endorse the presumptive Republican nominee. It is humorous — in a sad, bitter, tragic sort of way — to see Republican leaders, and some conservative commentators, try to forget or minimize Trump’s history of odious proposals and statements. The argument seems to be: “I say tomato. You say Mexican immigrants are rapists. What’s the big difference?”
And all this has taken place without (apparently) securing any concessions or guarantees from Trump himself. He now knows that he can violate any Republican or conservative principle and still get a round of crisp salutes, even from his strongest opponents. This is the white flag of ideological surrender.Read the rest of Michael Gerson's op-ed HERE.
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