Mercifully, Cheney wasn’t the only Republican leader to condemn the big-mouth Big Apple billionaire in unsparing terms. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told his Republican conference and, later, reporters Tuesday morning, “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for.” But Jennifer Horn, the GOP chair in New Hampshire, crisply articulated my thoughts on what Trump is pushing.
There are some issues that transcend politics….I am an American first. There should never be a day in the United States of America when people are excluded based solely on their race or religion. It is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American.
When I wrote last month that Trump was “defining deviancy down” in presidential politics, he was guilty of peddling the (false) conspiracy theory that thousands of Muslims cheered the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was one more in a damning list of impertinent, racist, xenophobic statements by the Republican front-runner. Since that piece was written, Trump went on to disparage a disabled New York Times reporter and now this.
Trump’s seal-the-border idea is akin to his morally reprehensible, legally indefensible and un-American immigration plan. At least, he isn’t calling for the deportation of Muslim Americans as he is for the American-born children of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, whom he wants booted from the country. He told the folks on “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that his proposal is temporary and that he didn’t envision internment camps. Disgusting.
What made Trump’s anti-Muslim hand grenade even more despicable was that it dropped not 24 hours after President Obama implored the nation to not give in to nativist fears in the wake of the San Bernardino slaughter.
It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL [the Islamic State]. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.
What’s even scarier than Trump’s musings are the people who support him. With each offensive remark that would have killed any other presidential campaign, the reality television star’s poll numbers go up. And radio host Michael Smerconish raised a truly troubling prospect on Twitter.
Smerconish’s query is logical and correct, which should frighten anyone who loves this country. It raises the distinct possibility that Trump is not an angry aberration, but a grim reflection of who we are as Americans. If ever there was a time I would co-opt the “Let’s take our country back” mantra adopted by the far right, it is now. What Trump is doing and saying is not who we are as a country. Again, what he is doing is not just “defining deviancy down”; it’s destroying our country — one ugly comment, one vicious proposal at a time.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj