Donald “Joffrey” Trump Making It Difficult For Republicans
If you were to ask the Republican Party how they feel about Donald Trump, the reactions would vary. There would be some who support the nominee whole heartedly, as is their privilege, but there are others who act like those family members who want to ignore the dysfunctional cousin. They usually sit there in support, but they squirm the whole time because they are uncomfortable. Kind of like Tywin Lannister uncomfortably ignoring the incestuous relationship between his daughter Cersei and his son Jaime in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.
Sorry, spoiler alert.
It’s not incest, but Trump’s recent comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel have Republicans squirming in their seats. Some are doing more than squirming and are running as fast as they can to denounce their primary candidate.
Judge Curiel is overseeing the infamous Trump U lawsuit. It seems the trial isn’t going Mr. Trump’s way and he decided to attack Curiel’s impartiality through his ethnicity. Curiel happens to be an Indiana-born man who has a Mexican-American heritage. As many know, Donald Trump wants stronger policies about the neighbors to the south. That’s the polite way of putting it.
“I think it [his ethnicity] has to do perhaps with the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border, very, very strong at the border, and he has been extremely hostile to me,” Trump said back in February on Fox News Sunday. At the time, Trump was facing attack ads by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the Trump U lawsuit.
That was back in February, the attacks against Judge Curiel haven’t stopped since then.
“I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump said, more recently.
Enter Joffrey Lannister.
Okay, well maybe Donald Trump isn’t tearing Westeros apart as Joffrey did but he is definitely tearing apart the Republican Party.
See, the Republicans have to choose between supporting their candidate fully so voters see a unified front but it comes with a cost–they have to justify Trump, and his blatantly racist comments, as a candidate. Which means they have to discuss this situation and awkward is a polite way of putting it.
It’s a volatile situation that is tearing the Republican Party into pieces.
The Party is fracturing before the public’s very eyes and it’s only going to get worse as the Republican Convention draws closer. Many of the GOP have privately told Trump to stop attacking Curiel and may have alluded he needs to shut his mouth—does anyone see that happening? Others have come out publicly against Trump, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“I disavow these comments. I regret those comments that he made,” Ryan told reporters. “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
With all due respect to Ryan, it’s not “sort of like the textbook version of a racist comment”–it is racism. However, it’s not time to attack the guy trying to do a better job of damage control than his nominee’s own campaign. Speaking of Ryan, it’s unfortunate that this had to happen as he recently endorsed Trump. By recent, it was just last week that Ryan gave his endorsement to Trump for the good of the party and to “further the agenda.”
While Ryan is still standing, and squirming, by his man there are other Republicans who are not even considering this as an option. The pride of the party doesn’t seem to be enough of an allure to hold them fast even if they are on the verge of losing their spot in Congress.
Illinois Senator Mark Kirk (R) is up for re-election and could possibly be in fear of losing his seat. However, that didn’t stop Kirk from taking one of the hardest stands against Trump. Kirk may not be re-elected over his comments as they don’t follow the party line but he did make some very valid points that his fellow Republicans probably wish they had said.
“As the presidential campaign progressed, I was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and say a campaign that was inclusive, thoughtful and principled,” Kirk said in a statement released Tuesday by his campaign found on Politico. “While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump’s latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for President regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party.”
Kirk wasn’t one to hold any punches back as months of frustration seemed to have broken through. This is also the same frustration the Republican voters seem to have as all the previous candidates have fallen by the wayside.
“I have spent my life building bridges and tearing down barriers– not building walls. That’s why I find Donald Trump’s belief that an American-born judge of Mexican descent is incapable of fairly presiding over his case is not only dead wrong, it is un-American,” Kirk’s statement read. “It is absolutely essential that we are guided by a commander-in-chief with a responsible and proper temperament, discretion and judgment.”
Kirk may just be the first chip to fall. To see someone who is willing to risk their seat for a principle is definitely admirable. It breaks the stereotype that some politicians will say whatever necessary to win. It’s not something one sees from a government official, especially one who is up for re-election. The GOP should follow Kirk’s example but that’s a whole other story.
As for Trump, he’s upped the antics of talking about this situation and not keeping mum on it. He’s already released a statement, which didn’t really backtrack on anything. In fact, it’s like he took the advice of the GOP and blatantly ignored it because he feels he is in the right.
“It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent. The American justice system relies on fair and impartial judges. All judges should be held to that standard,” Trump said on his website. “I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”
As Ryan said, it’s a “textbook form of a racist comment.” For months, Trump has called into question Judge Curiel, who has taken on the likes of the Mexican drug cartel in some of his cases. Based on his record, Curiel is a stand out judge who shouldn’t have to deal with an implication that his heritage factors into his decisions.
Donald Trump may have gotten the Republican nomination.
However, it’s pretty clear that he isn’t equipped to play this game of politics. The brashness, which drew ratings and brought flocks of voters has gotten old. Not only that, it’s caused the Republican Party to take a good, hard look at themselves and make what seems to be a no-win situation.
The fracturing has already started. The Republican Party can squirm in their seats or take a stand like Kirk did.
“Our President must be fit to command the most powerful military the world has ever seen, including an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons,” Kirk said. “After much consideration, I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”