The dominoes continue to tumble.
Over the past week or so, more and more Republicans have come out publicly and said they would not be voting for Donald Trump. Many of them have even outright endorsed Hillary Clinton. Most have cited Trump’s feud with the Khan family as the final straw.
Monday brought more defections. Lezlee Westine, a former aide to President George W. Bush, and William Milliken, ex-Governor of Michigan, both publicly declared they were voting for Hillary. Meanwhile, a group of 50 conservative national security officials and experts wrote an open letter declaring Trump a threat to the nation as a whole. Anti-Trump Republicans also got their potential protest vote in the form of Evan McMullin, a GOP policy wonk who will run as an independent with the backing of some Republican money men and campaign vets.
Well, add Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to the mix of the loudening #NeverTrump cacophony. In an op-ed for the Washington Post that was posted Monday night, Collins wrote that she cannot support Trump for president. She listed the Khan battle, his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s heritage and the mocking of a disabled reporter as the prime reasons why she will not vote for the former reality TV star.
The first was his mocking of a reporter with disabilities, a shocking display that did not receive the scrutiny it deserved. I kept expecting Mr. Trump to apologize, at least privately, but he did not, instead denying that he had done what seemed undeniable to anyone who watched the video. At the time, I hoped that this was a terrible lapse, not a pattern of abuse.
The second was Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge born and raised in Indiana, could not rule fairly in a case involving Trump University because of his Mexican heritage. For Mr. Trump to insist that Judge Curiel would be biased because of his ethnicity demonstrated a profound lack of respect not only for the judge but also for our constitutional separation of powers, the very foundation of our form of government. Again, I waited in vain for Mr. Trump to retract his words.
Third was Donald Trump’s criticism of the grieving parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq. It is inconceivable that anyone, much less a presidential candidate, would attack two Gold Star parents. Rather than honoring their sacrifice and recognizing their pain, Mr. Trump disparaged the religion of the family of an American hero. And once again, he proved incapable of apologizing, of saying he was wrong.
That’s all well and good. But, c’mon, it isn’t like Trump just recently revealed that he is an unhinged, racist, dangerous, wannabe demagogue. The only reason why ‘respectable’ Republicans are jumping off the Trump Train is that his poll numbers are plummeting. Pure and simple.
There is no bravery here. These aren’t profiles in courage. They see the oncoming disaster and want to make sure everyone knows now that they aren’t on his side. They don’t want to be covered by the taint of Trumpism when it comes to their next election or K Street job. So now is the time to disavow. Now that they feel that a big loss is fairly predictable.
How very heroic.
Image via NBC News