It seems I have written so many of these pieces over the last three years. In fact, I’ve been sounding the warning bell about Donald Trump from the moment I saw him descend on that gaudy, gold escalator at Trump Tower, to announce he’d be running for the presidency in June 2015.
I knew who Trump was, and honestly, I had no real problem with him, through the years.
Why would I? He was just another B-list personality, at best. He wasn’t a threat to me.
What’s interesting to me now is all the friends from New York and New Jersey who have more real world knowledge of Donald Trump and his corrupt business practices. To them, he’s not the goofy reality TV huckster. There is a considerable amount of dirt and scumbaggery attached to the name of Trump. Citizens from around New York City and New Jersey’s Atlantic City area had and have a front row seat to who Trump is.
As we progressed through the primary season, the entire nation got a good look at who Trump was and how a President Trump might govern.
He was ignorant of details, making a mockery of every debate. He was hateful and abusive to those who asked questions of him, as well as fellow candidates, taking the lowest of every low road in attacking them.
When he became the nominee, besting a host of much better, much more qualified candidates (and definitely more stable), it was a nightmare.
What I expected to happen afterwards was a backlash from devoted, principled conservatives, who recognized that Donald Trump would not only damage the party, but would trash conservatism for ages to come.
As neither a moral, nor a just man, Donald Trump is incapable of being a moral or just leader.
What I saw, to my dismay, was conservative after conservative, in both media and politics, pledging their fealty to this horrific clown, simply because he was the party’s nominee.
I get it. Hillary Clinton was a nightmare. She is corrupt. She should not have even been in the running and making her the nominee was a major goof on the part of the DNC.
That doesn’t make Trump better. It doesn’t make an abandonment of principles and sanity the only option.
At some point, I had really hoped that those principled members of the GOP would have banded together and worked to thwart the ruin of not only the party, but of our nation.
Nobody had the guts. It’s not about the nation. It’s not about conservatism. It’s apparently about being one of the “Big Two” and holding on to that power, no matter what principles must be bent, in the process.
If 2016 and the subsequent time since has taught me anything, it’s not to make heroes out of men. They will all let you down.
And speaking of political heroes, for many years, mine has been former Texas Governor Rick Perry – now Trump’s energy secretary.
I was a devoted supporter from 2011, forward. I was so deeply impressed with the successes Perry had as executive over the 12th largest economy in the world.
He was a success in Texas. He knew how to run an economy. He knew the border and had a solid plan for border security. His flat tax plan sounded solid. As a veteran, himself, he understood the needs of our nation’s vets and has been a tireless advocate for their best interests.
I didn’t care about his “oops” moment in the run for the presidency in 2012. I knew his record. That was enough, and far too much has been made of a single debate slip.
I was thrilled when he got back on his horse and gave it another shot in 2016. After eight years of Obama, Rick Perry was the leader we needed.
Unfortunately, an overcrowded field and the pent-up anger of the right purged any semblance of common sense from the running.
Still, the most heroic moment of the entire 2016 election season came in July 2015, with the primary season still evolving and the GOP bench exploding with talent. And Trump.
Perry, while speaking about the benefits of conservatism for economic growth to an audience at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in D.C., he turned his words on Trump, coining the phrase “Trumpism,” and perfectly describing the dangers to come for the conservative movement.
But when Perry shifted from policy to Donald Trump, his staid speech turned passionate. “He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as ‘Trumpism,’” Perry said of the real-estate mogul. “A toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.”
“Let no one be mistaken,” Perry said. “Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded.”
“I, for one, will not be silent when a candidate for the high office of the president runs under the Republican banner by targeting millions of Hispanics, and our veterans, with mean-spirited vitriol,” he said.
“This is not new in America,” he said, recalling how the Know-Nothing movement of the 1840s scapegoated Irish and German immigrants. “These people built nothing, created nothing,” Perry said. “They existed to cast blame and tear down certain institutions. To give outlet to anger. Donald Trump is the modern-day incarnation of the know-nothing movement.”
He was right. He was so very right.
Sadly, Perry left the race several months after this fiery speech.It broke my heart. He was the most qualified to lead, but the first to leave, after failing to get the traction needed to effectively compete.
I continued to hope and pray for some way to save the party and the nation from the nightmare that was unfolding.
Fast forward to today. There was no white-hatted hero to ride in and save us from the scourge of Trumpism. As a result, we’ve endured scandals and embarrassment. Those of us who care about conservatism and saving this nation have lived on the edge of our seats, dreading the tweet that starts a major conflict, groaning in our guts over tariffs that are already hurting American workers, and wondering what has happened to the collective spine of the GOP.
For Christians (I mean actual Christians, not those who see politics and access to power as their religion), we’ve seen Trump’s continued abusiveness, heard of his adulteries and watched the party circle the wagons around him. We’ve watched evangelical “leaders” cheer the man on and claim him as one of our own, when there is nothing in his life to suggest he is. They damage their Christian witness to the world, forgetting that our duty is to our God first, to the Great Commission of winning souls, not to any political party or president.
And with every new scandal, every new outrage, we watch those we admired fall, compliant to Trump’s whims.
Today’s outrage is the recent op-ed, supposedly written by a senior White House official and printed in The New York Times.
The op-ed confirms rumored concerns of an inept, incompetent, unhinged Trump. A rank novice with poor impulse control and the nuclear codes in his possession.
The writer of the op-ed is no hero. This person admits that there was a point where staff members considered the 25th Amendment to remove Trump last year, before even a year in office was complete. A Yale psychiatrist even admitted that members of Trump’s staff reached out to her because Trump’s behavior was scaring them.
The author went on to say that rather than attempting to use the 25th Amendment to remove him, members of Trump’s Cabinet are working around him, using tricks and subterfuge to thwart his more destructive impulses.
Meanwhile, one-by-one, members of Trump’s Cabinet and staff are coming forward to dutifully state that they did not write the op-ed.
Yes. I absolutely believe Trump is requiring these people to come forward and emphatically state their innocence, while also lambasting the writer of the op-ed.
Be sure to toss in there how smart, and totally not a slow-witted con Trump is, as well.
And Rick Perry is right there in the mix, doing his first duty – fluffing Trump.
I am not the author of the New York Times OpEd, nor do I agree with its characterizations. Hiding behind anonymity and smearing the President of the United States does not make you an "unsung hero", it makes you a coward, unworthy of serving this Nation.
— Rick Perry (@SecretaryPerry) September 6, 2018
What happened to you?
Everybody seems more interested in finding out who wrote the op-ed than they are what the op-ed says. I think maybe that should be the first concern.
Still, Rick Perry’s full embrace of Trumpism, the cancerous blotch on the face of conservatism that he once so strongly decried is a letdown.
Trump has not grown into his position. He has not become a better person, spurred by purpose to learn and elevate his knowledge, in order to be the best possible representative of the American ideal that he could be.
He has used his position to alienate our allies and empower our enemies.
He has used his position to target private businesses and the innovators who have known more success in their careers (without Russian mob money to keep them afloat), even to the point of threatening the free market.
He has disrespected our Constitution by attacking the First Amendment, through disparaging the press, the right to protest, and attempting to interfere in the function of Christian churches by encouraging them to become campaign headquarters.
He has done all these things. He continues to prove himself unworthy of the office he holds, and too few have the stomach to stand up to him. Their careers apparently mean more.
I expected more out of Governor Perry. I thought he was a true believer in conservatism, and not another party hack.
After his Trumpism speech, it really seemed he was ready to face the consequences like a true warrior.
But when asked about the politics behind the onslaught — and whether his continuous attacks may be inadvertently strengthening Trump attacks — Perry was unmoved. “I’m not particularly concerned about that,” he said. “I’m concerned about standing up for what I believe in, and what I know the Republican Party stands for. Mr. Trump is going to have to defend his statements.”
What do you stand for? What do you believe in?
I thought I knew, at one point.
I must now admit to my wide-eyed naivete for so many years. I wanted to believe. I wanted heroes.
In politics, there are none. I won’t be fooled again.