Editor’s Note: The following has been submitted to The Resurgent as a joint opinion piece by:
- Conservatives Against Trump
- #NeverTrump PAC
- Never Means Never PAC
- Liz Mair, chief strategist, Make America Awesome
- Kendal Unruh, founder, Free the Delegates
- Quin Hillyer, Contributing Editor, National Review Online
As Americans, we believe in ordered liberty – maximum freedom under a civil law that is minimal but clear, respected and well-enforced. We believe in equality of opportunity, and in a government which, without favoritism, lets opportunity thrive in abundance. We believe that religious and civic organizations, supported by strong families, are the bedrocks of a free society. We believe that for leaders of such a society, character really counts. And we believe that a strong national defense – great might backed by right, and always subservient to domestic law – is a necessary bulwark for that free society.
We are quite certain that Donald Trump does not hold those values, nor abide by them. Donald Trump is no lover of liberty. Donald Trump is no respecter of the law. And Donald Trump is certainly no man of character.
We believe that Mr. Trump is morally, experientially, temperamentally, attitudinally and philosophically unfit for the Oval Office. We do not believe he is emotionally stable; we do not believe he is personally decent; he appears to be neither principled nor even particularly competent. And we believe the record shows, and his unreleased tax returns would further demonstrate, that he is not even a big business success – aside, that is, from having proven abilities at product branding, and at being a successful reality-TV showman. Apart from those two skills, Trump has a serial record – to use one of his favorite words – of being a loser.
(Likewise, but parenthetically at this time, we believe Hillary Clinton also is manifestly unfit for office. We are both #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary. But there are nearly four months available to make the case against Secretary Clinton, and we urgently need somebody other than Trump to make it.)
To explain why Donald Trump must either be denied the Republican nomination, or opposed along with Hillary Clinton by a strong independent candidate, let us echo Thomas Jefferson by letting facts be submitted to a candid world.
First, Donald Trump is an admirer of tyrants. He praised Saddam Hussein for gassing his own innocent people. He said the butchers of Tiananmen Square “almost blew it” by not being tough enough against the advocates of freedom. He has repeatedly complimented the despicable thug and U.S. enemy Vladimir Putin – who has sponsored murder of his enemies, including by radioactive poisoning; has jailed dissidents and journalists; has made war on sovereign nations; and has armed and otherwise supported American enemies, including Iran.
Trump similarly has lauded North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Libya’s Gaddafi, and Syria’s Assad. He has favorably quoted Mussolini; and his first wife said Trump even kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed.
This is, to put it mildly, not the record of a leader in the American tradition.
Second, Donald Trump routinely tramples and cheats ordinary Americans. He supports radical expansion of eminent domain; he tried to force a widow, and an Italian family restaurant, off their land so he could have more space for limousines to park. His four bankruptcies left tens of thousands of people unpaid – not just bankers, but workers, contractors, vendors, small businessmen. Even when he doesn’t go bankrupt, his ordinary business practices involve frequent refusals to pay, or refusals to pay the full amount owed, backed by the weight of high-priced lawyers trying to ruin anyone who complains. He spent nearly two decades trying to avoid paying wages and pensions due to Polish workers; he conned many hundreds of people through Trump University, rated a ‘D’ by the Better Business Bureau. He rooked consumers with widely panned products that went belly-up: tough Trump Steaks; grounded Trump Air; Trump water that made no splash; Trump Vodka that went flat, along with a drink called “The Donald,”; Trump Style magazine that went out of circulation; failed Trump Mortgage; and the US Football League that Trump almost singlehandedly fumbled out of existence.
And even veterans, whom Trump claims are among his dearest causes, have actually suffered at Trump’s hands: Trump spent at least 14 years lobbying to deny street vending rights even for disabled vets working on Fifth Avenue.
Third, Trump repeatedly traffics in bigotry. He repeatedly reTweeted messages from people openly identifying as white supremacists. He repeatedly declined, for days, to denounce racist groups like the KKK or infamous Klan leader David Duke. He spent nearly a week asserting that he couldn’t get a fair trial specifically because the judge was of Mexican heritage, and sent out paid aides to make the same claim. He has said he “hates it” to have “black guys counting my money,” because “the only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” The Justice Department once sued his company for housing discrimination against black people. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission fined his casino for discriminating against black card dealers. He has mocked Asian accents, insulted Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, and Seventh Day Adventists as groups, and even questioned whether those in Native American reservations convincingly “look like Indians.”
Fourth, Trump repeatedly has incited violence and praised the purveyors of violence. Long before protests at his rallies turned violent, Trump was advocating violence against the protesters. He lamented that his audiences weren’t tough enough on protesters because, quote, “nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.” He said that if an audience member hurt a protester, he, Trump, “would defend [the Trump supporter] in court.” He pined for the days when protesters would “be carried out on a stretcher.” He has repeatedly called for explicit torture of perceived enemies. Once, he even asked his henchmen literally to don brass knuckles to threaten the promoter of a Rolling Stones concert.
And, of course, he famously supported boxer Mike Tyson and said Tyson should remain free even after the boxer was convicted of rape.
Fifth, Trump is fundamentally, irredeemably dishonest. Media fact checkers literally have trouble keeping up with Trump’s misstatements, factual errors, and outright lies. He lied about having opposed the war in Iraq – he was for it, months before, and at least several days afterward. He lied about his personal involvement with Trump University, and acknowledged as much in a deposition. He lied about having falsely accused President G.W. Bush of lying. He lied about entirely self-funding his campaign. He lied about having admired socialist medicine in Canada and Scotland. He lied by a huge degree about his father’s financial help for him, which in truth was vast. He lied about why he refuses to release his tax returns. And he even lied about his opposition to what his supporters deride as ‘amnesty’ for unlawful immigrants: In truth, he was a supporter of these policies almost up until he decided to run for president.
Sixth, Trump is terrible – ignorant, and just plain wrong – on policy almost across the board. He wants to have his hand on the nuclear button, but couldn’t identify what the nuclear triad is. He would impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods that would devastate American consumers without doing much at all for, and indeed in the long run probably harming, American workers. He in effect advocates a trade war worse than the Smoot-Hawley law that turned a recession into the Great Depression. His tax and spending proposals don’t even come close to adding up, and would pile even more debt upon Barack Obama’s trillions.
Trump almost never speaks of freedom, liberty, or the Constitution. He thinks we can just order American companies not to invest abroad, and punish them if they do. He thinks the federal government can save money by eliminating Common Core – which isn’t a federal government program, and for better or for worse cannot be eliminated through federal policy. Almost everything he says on policy is nonsense, historically illiterate and, worst of all, dangerously authoritarian.
Finally, Trump’s embrace of torture would endanger American servicemen and workers around the globe. And his nearly insane advocacy of nuclear weapons for Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and others could quite literally lead to global annihilation.
The litany of Trump’s abominations could continue almost indefinitely. It would include his likening Ben Carson, directly, to a child molester; to his insinuation that Ted Cruz’ father plotted to kill President Kennedy; and to his belittling of the service of POWs in the Vietnam War. It would include his vile mocking of a man’s physical disability, and Trump University’s directives to take advantage of the disabled through foreclosure actions. It would include his many business dealings with mob figures and with Russian thugs. It would include his long, long record of statements viciously demeaning of women and his own checkered history of mistreating them in various ways.
And that’s just what we know about Donald Trump. What we don’t know – what he hides – may be at least as bad. He won’t unseal the court documents relating to the case involving the Polish workers. He won’t reveal his college transcripts. He wouldn’t let the New York Times disclose the transcript of his editorial board visit. And he won’t release his tax returns.
But, let it be noted, those returns will surely leak in the fall, and if they are as damning as expected, they could explode not just his own campaign but also all would-be reformers who share the same ballot line with him.
Donald Trump has virtually no chance of defeating the Democratic nominee for president. He spent the entire primary season touting polls, but in 106 polls in the past 14 months against Hillary Clinton, he has led only 11 – and only two of the last 37. And this is against a weak and unpopular Democratic candidate, not a strong one; against a candidate who has been subjected to a full year of bad headlines; against a candidate who should be easy for Republicans to defeat. And this is before the Clinton machine has unleashed its full fury against Trump, and before the Obama IRS has leaked his tax returns with their expected serious embarrassments.
For all these reasons, Donald Trump is utterly unfit for the Republican nomination for president, and unfit for the Oval Office. It is a toss-up as to which is worse: the huge likelihood that a Trump nomination would ensure the election of Hillary Clinton, or the seriously unlikely occurrence of Donald Trump actually taking office. Either outcome would be a disaster. There must be another option. As liberty-loving Americans, we should demand it.