Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 25, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsElephant in the Room

Trump’s comments are indefensible

Donald Trump is a morally depraved bully who lacks the character needed to be president. It should come as no surprise, then, that in 2005, he made lewd comments about women. In a discussion with Billy Bush, who was then host of Access Hollywood, Trump said his fame let him do whatever he wanted to women. In one of the most vulgar statements, Trump said he can “grab them by the pussy.”  

In the days following the release of the video by The Washington Post, many prominent Republicans have both condemned Trump’s remarks and called for him to step down from the ticket. Trump’s comments were disgusting and disturbing. I’m more concerned, however, with the health of the Republican Party.

Trump’s comments were inexcusable and indefensible. His response? To hold a predebate news conference with women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. And then when asked about the video during the second presidential debate, Trump apologized but repeatedly said it was just “locker room talk.”

This is not what manliness looks or sounds like. Trump’s words demonstrate that he believes sexual assault is not only acceptable, but impressive. He is an insecure man who believes wealth and power can get him the popularity he craves and whatever else he wants. Trump’s words should anger you not only because they would be offensive to your sister, daughter or mother, but because they are derogatory toward all women. Human beings are not sexual objects. It’s as simple as that.

I am pleased to see so many Republicans calling for Trump to step down. Unfortunately, it is too late. Trump is a sinking ship, and many Republicans are simply saving themselves before he completely submerges in self-induced destruction. But these comments are nothing new for the Republican candidate. This is who Trump is: a demagogue masquerading as the working man’s hero.

Republican politicians stretched their morals to defend Trump. He mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability and disparaged Sen. John McCain with no mass condemnation from Republicans. He called Mexicans rapists and insulted the family of a fallen Gold Star soldier and faced no reprimanding from the party. And the list goes on of the countless times Trump has purposefully divided the United States for his own gain with no response from the party he hijacked. Now the morals of the Republican Party have been pushed to the breaking point.

Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman, and anyone who followed his lead this election are cowards. The RNC shut down resistance to Trump in the name of party unity and pushed full steam ahead on the Trump train. But party unity only works with a two-way street, and it has been clear for some time that Trump has no loyalty to anyone but himself. It is time now for the Trump train to come to a screeching halt.

Donald J. Trump must step aside as the Republican nominee for president, or the Republican leadership must denounce him as the candidate. Gov. Mike Pence should leave the ticket while he still has some dignity left. And for all the Republicans who have yet to rescind their endorsements, I hope they either change their minds or can sleep easy at night knowing what kind of example they are setting for children.

To be clear, I am not saying that Republicans should vote for Hillary Clinton. I understand that Clinton represents all that is bad with the Democrats. She is the epitome of crony capitalism and of using government to amass power. She plays identity politics, and when asked who her biggest enemy is, she said Republicans. Yes, Bill Clinton’s actions toward women are just as horrid as Trump’s comments, but conservatives should not sink to that level. I’m not asking Republicans to support the Clintons. I’m asking Republicans to stand up to the bullies on both sides of the aisle — and that starts with putting an end to the monster that has captured our party.