Dean Obdeillah: Public officials should be held accountable for supporting Donald Trump
Obdeillah: Some say they don't like his sexist comments but think he'd be good for economy
Sorry, you don't get a pass because you like one of Trump's policy proposals, he says
Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM’s weekly program “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog The Dean’s Report. Follow him on Twitter: @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
Let’s take a page from Donald Trump’s book and ignore political correctness for a moment: If you support Trump, you support his sexist, bigoted and racist views.
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. And this is especially true for GOP party leaders, elected officials and even community leaders.
Some have said things such as, “I don’t like Trump’s history of demeaning women, but I think he will be good for the economy.” Sorry, you don’t get a pass because you like one of his policy proposals.
It’s akin to saying, “I supported Hitler for his tax plan.” And no, I’m absolutely not comparing Trump to Hitler. But Anne Frank’s 86-year-old stepsister, Eva Schloss, who survived Auschwitz, did just that a few weeks ago, telling Newsweek that Trump “is acting like another Hitler by inciting racism.”
So when elected officials such as South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster or Republican New Jersey state Sen. Mike Doherty – shockingly a person from my home state – endorse Trump, we need to ask them why. Do they support resolving disagreements with women by publicly referring to them as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals”? Because Trump does.
And what about the other elected officials who have endorsed Trump such as Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit, Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph A. Trillo or Iowa state Sen. Brad Zaun. What moved them to endorse Trump?
Could it be these elected officials admire the way Trump stoked the flames of hate toward Latinos? His labeling of Mexicans as “rapists”?
Maybe they admire the way Trump bullied and mocked not one but two disabled reporters: Serge Kovaleski and Charles Krauthammer – Trump despicably ridiculed Krauthammer, a man paralyzed from the waist down, as “a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants.”
Do these officials admire Trump’s call to tread on the rights of American Muslims using warrantless surveillance? Perhaps they enjoyed his race-baiting story – lacking in any factual basis – that “thousands” of Muslims were cheering in New Jersey on 9/11 to celebrate the attacks on the World Trade Center?
Or perhaps these Republican officials are drawn to Trump for defending violence against those who dared to disagree with him at campaign rallies. The most alarming incident came in November at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, when a Black Lives Matter protester interrupted the candidate. The GOP front-runner called on the crowd to get the man out of there. His supporters then beat up the man, reportedly calling the black protester “the N-word” and a “monkey.” Shockingly the next day Trump defended those actions, saying, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
And Monday night, Trump again invoked violence in stifling dissent at a rally, telling the crowd as a protester was being thrown out: “The guards are being very gentle with him. I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that.”
We must assume that those who endorse Trump know this history, given that the media have widely covered it. We must also assume they are not just endorsing Trump’s policy positions but his disturbing sexist and bigoted history as well.
The same goes for people such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who recently proclaimed he would vote for Trump if he wins the GOP nomination because he feels compelled to back his party’s nominee. Sorry, you don’t get a free pass by saying you are in essence “following orders” by voting for the Republican nomination. You have a choice.
That’s exactly why well-known conservative Erick Erickson wrote an article Monday titled simply, “I Will Not Vote For Donald Trump. Ever.” Erickson, who I have vehemently disagreed with in the past, has offered a profile in courage knowing Trump’s minions and even fellow conservatives will attack him.
Erickson first calls out Trump as a “liberal masquerading as a conservative.” He writes that he simply can’t support a candidate who “preys on nationalistic, tribal tendencies and has an army of white supremacists online as his loudest cheerleaders.” That is one of several good reasons that no good person should support Trump.
GOP party leaders, elected officials and community leaders must realize that if they endorse Trump, the rest of us will be forced to assume they are just as bigoted and hateful as he is.