GOP leaders should heed warning of courageous few

The following editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Like canaries in a coal mine, a few brave Republicans are warning of a toxin in Washington that threatens the very core of American democracy. They say that national divisions are widening because of President Donald Trump’s penchant for bullying, juvenile tweeting and vengeful character assassination.

Republicans and Democrats must unite for the cause of civility and dignified discourse. The two parties certainly will continue to disagree and fight for their righteous causes. But they must stop tolerating Trump’s hateful antics as the new political norm.

When Trump cannot garner the support he needs in Congress, he retreats to campaign-style meetings with his “base” in the hinterlands, where he typically exaggerates his successes and even inflates crowd sizes to feed his own ego. “I’m president, and you’re not” is one of his favored comeback lines when he can’t win arguments with logic and intellect.

He is destroying our nation’s integrity. He is trampling on time-honored values. He will stop at nothing to win an argument or crush an opponent. Mature adults do not behave this way. Trump might be president, but he is not presidential. He disrespects and denigrates the highest office in the land.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has had enough of it. In a Senate speech Tuesday, he unleashed a full-throated critique of the president’s bizarre behavior. Flake’s words, echo recent warnings of other prominent Republicans such as Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former President George W. Bush.

Rarely have Republicans of such stature spoken in harmony against one of their own. But they do so out of a conviction that he’s inflicting serious damage on the country they love.

If those voices don’t resonate with Trump, then perhaps the words of his own wife, First Lady Melania Trump, might register.

“I think it’s very important to choose kindness and compassion …,” she told schoolchildren in Detroit this week. Turning to the adults in the room, she added, “By our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit. We need to remember that they are always watching and listening.”

We shudder to think of the “adult” example Trump sets for America’s children. The GOP’s timid acquiescence must end. Because this man’s demeanor, most definitely, is not normal.

 

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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