It appears that, win or lose, Donald J. Trump is well on his way to becoming America’s most notorious ‘hideous scar meister’. It also appears that Washington elected Republicans have the power to thwart his heinous plan but refuse to do so due either to lack of courage, Party unity, political ambitions or a combination of the three. Mr. Trump has boldly and shamelessly mocked the American political system and dared his Republican colleagues to do anything about it. So far, they have timidly hidden in any dark corner that they could find and demurred while shunning his dare. RNC Chairperson Rience Priebus’ response to Mr. Trump’s dare was to threaten those Republicans who have refused to endorse Mr. Trump and suggest in no uncertain terms that they had better get on board and endorse him.
And what is Mr. Trump’s response to these top-flight Republicans’ cowardly act? As Election Day draws ever closer he has continued in his rebellious ways and put the pedal-to-the-metal. I mean, why shouldn’t he? He has already dispatched their top 15 guys and an outsider Republican female without even breaking a sweat. He is an experienced bully who loves turning anyone who challenges his authority into a bunch of losers. He did it when he successfully sued Rudy Giuliani when he was the mayor of New York and now Mr. Giuliani is one of his staunchest supporters and a surrogate for him in his run to become president.
Mr. Trump is now demanding and expects this same kind of respect from all of the Washington Republicans…and so far he is getting it. It might not be the willingly given respect like that he receives from his loyal supporters but it is nonetheless respect. Mr. Trump, just like any bully, doesn’t care that these cowardly Washington Republicans are kowtowing to him under duress; all that matters is that they are kowtowing. This makes him happy.
While these Republicans are hiding in their dark corners, American citizens and the rest of the world are looking on in amazement while Donald Trump is working his magic as the most recognized American hideous scar meister. He is literally rewriting how the world sees the American democracy and conceivably creating a hideous scar that, if not impossible to remove, will likely take a very long time to remove. No amount of makeup, no matter how skilled the makeup artist, will be able to conceal it until it is surgically removed. And even after it has been removed, no amount of plastic surgery, no matter how skilled the surgeon, will be able to hide it from the annals of history. Here are some of the things that those on the world stage are saying and some of the questions they are asking according to an article in the New York Times by Declan Walsh:
“In one of the most mature democracies in the world, how does a campaign get so wild?” asked Manu Duggar, a Nepali living in Canada. “I’m afraid,” said Bernt Klein, a computer scientist in Germany.
“What we Europeans, especially Italians, cannot understand is how the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has declined so deep and fast toward Trump,” said David Cerri, an Italian lawyer. Sure, he conceded, Italians elected Silvio Berlusconi. “But frankly he’s not been a danger for democracy so conspicuous as Donald.”
America’s neighbors are just as baffled. Sharon Cambell, a self-described “nervous Canadian,” fears a victory for Mr. Trump on Nov. 8 would portend serious disruption between the two countries. “Treaties torn up, alliances ended, currency exchange proscribed, trade agreements abrogated and movement of people and goods between the borders of Canada and the U.S. at risk. That’s for starters. Wow!” she wrote.
It’s not just America’s neighbors that Donald Trump has worried; it is foreign heads of state and heads of government around the world. Fortunately for Mr. Trump, however, his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has been masterful in focusing the American people on Mr. Trumps ‘softer’ side. She is also likely responsible for the drop in the amount of attention that the press is paying to Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO, and other high profile, controversial staff members of Mr. Trump’s campaign.
She has done a yeoman’s job of this, and rightly should be given credit for it, and it appears to be reflected in the fact that the polls show that he is closing the distance between him and Secretary Clinton. This closing of the distance between these two candidates is certainly not due to anything of real substance like the public beginning to lean a bit more toward Mr. Trump because they now favor his promulgated plans or policy on various issues (he says that he keeps the details regarding those things secret in order to avoid tipping his hand to the enemy), qualifications for the job, or leadership. ‘A lot of people are saying’, this is one of Mr. Trump’s favorite phrases so I hope that he does not mind if I use it, that he does not have a plan or any coherent policy and that he is all over the place on the issues that Americans are voicing.
But just like Kellyanne Conway should be given credit for the masterful job that she is doing to persuade the American people that Donald Trump should be their next president and not Hillary Clinton, she should be held to account for what she is doing. As his campaign manager, she should not be given a free pass when tough questions that disrupt her customary warm and cozy feeling are asked by saying “You have to ask him about that”, casually cast them aside and then immediately proceed to talk just about those things about him that do make her feel warm and cozy. Just because she is a ‘well respected professional’ and does not want to be associated with those deplorable things that are a part of Mr. Trump and his campaign should not mean that the press has to accept that and, therefore, allow her to gloss over that part of who he is. As a matter of fact, they are compelled to press her on those things; and I submit that those who do not are remiss. Isn’t that a part of their job?!
We all know that there are white supremacists of every stripe that hold Donald Trump in high esteem and that those who have long remained in the shadows are now coming out of their hiding places and using him as a recruiting tool. All of us also know that Mr. Trump cannot control who supports him. But we know too that he and those that are a part of his campaign can choose to embrace or reject those peoples’ ideals and ideas. They do not have to reject the people – because the president should represent all of the people, but they can and should publicly reject and denounce their ideals and ideas. Donald Trump can do this, Hillary Clinton can do this, and Kellyanne Conway can do this.
Ms. Conway should not be given a free pass because she is or once was a highly respected person among those in the political arena and among members of the press. She must be held to account like anyone else. There is nothing wrong with her supporting Donald Trump for president if she feels that he would make a better president than would Hillary Clinton. And the fact that she is working to place him in the White House does not mean that she embraces all, or even any, of those deplorable things that are associated with him and his campaign. But she should be called out and asked whether she does embrace or reject them. Her answer will be revealing. And no matter her answer, at least the question will have been answered and she will not have received special treatment while holding such a key position in the Trump campaign. Whether or not people choose to believe her response will be their choice.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line