GOP leaders have a ‘moral, ethical obligation’ to repudiate Trump

KHAAANIn every presidential election there is a turning point, a pivotal moment, to which historians will assign significance as the reason for victory or defeat. We may well be witnessing that moment right now.

Donald Trump has made the strategic insane decision to attack the Gold Star parents of a fallen American hero because this thin-skinned megalomaniac Islamophobic bigot cannot stand being criticized by them. Members of his own party, the media, and public opinion are hardening against him. This may become known colloquially as The Wrath of Khan (spoofing the Star Trek film by the same name).

Think Progress reports:

KahnKhizr Khan is the father of Humyun Khan, a Muslim U.S. Army Captain who was killed in Iraq while heroically protecting his men from an attack on their compound. His emotional anti-Donald Trump speech at the DNC will go down as one of the convention’s most memorable moments. But Trump’s response to the speech made matters worse — instead of simply acknowledging Humyun’s heroism and the Khan family’s loss, he went after Khan’s wife, insinuating that her Muslim faith forbade her from contributing to her husband’s remarks.

Asked for his response to Trump smearing his family during a CNN interview on Sunday, Khizr said it’s time for leading Republicans to repudiate their party’s presidential nominee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) have a “moral, ethical obligation to not worry about the votes but repudiate [Trump], withdraw the support,” Khan said.

“If they do not I will continue to speak,” Khan continued. “I have received tremendous support from Republicans saying to me that they have never voted for the Democrats, [but] this year they are not going to vote Republican because of this candidate.”

Responding to Khizr’s speech during an ABC interview, Trump went after Ghazala, suggesting she didn’t say anything during Khizr’s speech because of her Muslim faith.

“His wife, if you look at this wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say,” Trump said. “She probably — maybe — she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me, but plenty of people have written that.”

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post on Sunday, Ghazala explained why she didn’t speak: “Without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.”

“Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself,” she continued. “What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”

Trump, meanwhile, defended himself on Twitter by trying to change the topic and falsely suggesting he opposed the invasion of Iraq from the beginning.

During the CNN interview, Khizr rejected Trump’s conflation of Muslims and terrorists.

“Muslims hate the menace of terrorism as much as any other [group],” he said. “It is our duty to keep this country — our country, beautiful country — safe. We have always thought that way, we will continue to do our part.”

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post sums up the choice Republicans face at this pivotal moment in the campaign today, The Khan fight highlights a huge GOP problem: No one knows how low Trump can go:

Donald Trump’s continuing war with the Khan family — which Trump inexplicably continued to keep in the news this morning with a series of new tweets — raises the specter of a brutal trap for Republicans.

It’s this: If individual Republicans don’t break off their support for Trump’s candidacy now — by, say, withdrawing their endorsements — they run the risk of having no choice but to do so after Trump sinks even further into wretchedness and depravity, to a point of true no return. (Presumably there is such a point.) At that juncture, their move will look unprincipled and desperate, leaving them stained — perhaps irrevocably — with their previous willingness to stick by him during much of his descent, and depriving their break with him of whatever moral force it might have had if done earlier.

As some Republicans are already remarking, Trump’s battle with the Khan family makes it harder and harder to avoid acknowledging the possibility that we really have no idea how low Trump will sink. After Khizr Khan, the father of a soldier killed in Iraq, criticized Trump from the stage of the Democratic convention last week, Trump responded by asking why his wife had stood by silently, unleashing a torrent of criticism from lawmakers in both parties and setting the stage for another round of media appearance by the Khans, in which they brutally tore into Trump’s lack of empathy and temperamental unfitness for the presidency.

Trump kept the story going this morning, tweeting angrily that Khan had viciously attacked him (reminding us that Trump, not the grieving father of a fallen soldier whose religion Trump attacked, is the truly aggrieved party here) and that this story is not about Khan but is rather about “RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM.” Republicans who have long warned their own party against embracing Trump are noting that this episode shows we are only seeing the beginnings of how unhinged Trump’s candidacy could become.

“Trump is inevitably going to get worse, not better, as his poll numbers get worse,” Tim Miller, a former adviser to Jeb Bush and a frequent Trump critic, told me this morning. “When he’s being criticized and his back is against the wall, he’s going to act out and become more extreme and despicable. Every time we think he’s gone as low as he’s going to go, he manages to sink even lower. There is no argument for waiting until he behaves better.”

“If Republicans are going to have to disavow Trump eventually because of how bad his behavior has gotten,” Miller continued, “it is incumbent on them to get the political benefit of doing it when it’s a principled stand, rather than waiting until they are backed into a corner and there’s no other choice.”

Take the response of House Speaker Paul Ryan. Over the weekend he issued a statement declaring that “many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military” and their sacrifice “should always be honored.” But his statement did not mention Trump at all. Ryan has previously said with real eloquence and sincerity that the GOP “stands for” the idea that there are “many Muslims serving in our armed forces” and “dying for this country” and in defense of the Constitution and “pluralism and freedom and democracy and individual rights.” But the GOP’s presidential nominee — the man Paul Ryan is trying to get elected president — belittled the religion of a family that made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of all those things, and if elected, would impose a religious test temporarily barring Muslims from entering the country.

Many Never Trump Republicans and conservatives don’t believe Ryan’s position is a tenable one. But the point is that this position on Trump could get harder, not easier, to sustain. As Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, put it: “Trump is a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom.” If this is right, and Trump sinks even lower, leaving no alternative but to cut him loose, Republicans such as Ryan will have done so not in defense of their own principles, but because events forced them to.

To his credit, Senator John McCain has forcefully condemned Donald Trump’s slander of these Gold Star parents today. To his discredit, McCain has demonstrated his lack of moral courage by stopping short of repudiating Donald Trump as his party’s nominee and withdrawing his tepid endorsement. John McCain condemns Donald Trump over attacks on Khan family:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a respected figure on national security issues in the Republican Party, issued a written statement strongly rebuking Trump.

(McCain’s full statement):

“The Republican Party I know and love is the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan.

“I wear a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen hero, Matthew Stanley, which his mother, Lynn, gave me in 2007, at a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. His memory and the memory of our great leaders deserve better from me.

“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.

“Make no mistake: I do not valorize our military out of some unfamiliar instinct. I grew up in a military family, and have my own record of service, and have stayed closely engaged with our armed forces throughout my public career. In the American system, the military has value only inasmuch as it protects and defends the liberties of the people.

“My father was a career naval officer, as was his father. For hundreds of years, every generation of McCains has served the United States in uniform.

“My sons serve today, and I’m proud of them. My youngest served in the war that claimed Captain Khan’s life as well as in Afghanistan. I want them to be proud of me. I want to do the right thing by them and their comrades.

“Humayun Khan did exactly that — and he did it for all the right reasons. This accomplished young man was not driven to service as a United States Army officer because he was compelled to by any material need. He was inspired as a young man by his reading of Thomas Jefferson — and he wanted to give back to the country that had taken him and his parents in as immigrants when he was only two years old.

“Captain Khan’s death in Iraq, on June 8th, 2004, was a shining example of the valor and bravery inculcated into our military. When a suicide bomber accelerated his vehicle toward a facility with hundreds of American soldiers, Captain Khan ordered his subordinates away from the danger.

“Then he ran toward it.

“The suicide bomber, striking prematurely, claimed the life of Captain Khan — and Captain Khan, through his selfless action and sacrifice, saved the lives of hundreds of his brothers and sisters.

“Scripture tells us that ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’

“Captain Humayun Khan of the United States Army showed in his final moments that he was filled and motivated by this love. His name will live forever in American memory, as an example of true American greatness.

“In the end, I am morally bound to speak only to the things that command my allegiance, and to which I have dedicated my life’s work: the Republican Party, and more importantly, the United States of America. I will not refrain from doing my utmost by those lights simply because it may benefit others with whom I disagree.

“I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment, and I repose my hope in the promise of mercy and the moderation of age. I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.

“Arizona is watching. It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.

“Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten.”

The admonishment went beyond the words of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Over the weekend, they expressed support for the Khan family and reiterated their opposition to Trump’s proposed ban on most Muslims. But neither mentioned Trump by name and neither abandoned support for the nominee.

* * *

Gold Star Family members of 17 service members killed in the line of duty wrote a letter to Trump calling his comments about the Khan family “repugnant” and demanding an apology. The letter was coordinated by Karen Meredith of the group VoteVets, which is aligned with Democratic candidates.

gop-rat-partyLate Sunday, Trump supporters, including longtime adviser Roger Stone [a GOP ratfucker from way back to the time of Nixon], circulated unsubstantiated accusations from an anti-Islam website about Khizr Khan. Stone tweeted a link to a post that, among other things, accuses Khan of being a “Muslim Brotherhood agent who wants to advance sharia law.”

Sophia Tesfaye at Salon answers Greg Sargent’s question, Team Trump has no bottom: Roger Stone is now attacking Khzir Khan as a “Muslim Brotherhood agent”:

[S]everal of [Trump’s] most prominent supporters have rushed to his support by furthering his attacks to also accuse the Khan’s of serving as spies for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Former Trump campaign staffer and key confidante Roger Stone turned to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to repeat Trump’s suggestion that the mother of Captain Humayun Khan did not speak out against Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. because her faith represses women.

“But it’s true. Unfortunately, the mother probably wasn’t allowed to speak ‘cause it’s not allowed in their culture,” Stone told Jones on his conspiratorial show Sunday.

After the appearance, Stone went on to escalate his attack on the family, tweeting an article suggesting that Mr. Khan “is a Muslim Brotherhood agent who wants to advance Sharia la and bring Muslims into the United States.”

These guys are the bottom-feeding sewer dwellers of the conspiracy theory underworld from which Donald Trump emerged as the GOP nominee.

This has to end now. The GOP must repudiate Trump as its nominee, or the Republican Party must be repudiated.

15 thoughts on “GOP leaders have a ‘moral, ethical obligation’ to repudiate Trump”

  1. I have a feeling that in five and ten years Republicans will still be judged by whether they supported Trump. Folks like Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, John Kasich, Mitt Romney and a few others may be held up as role models.
    John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Doug Ducey may be seen as tarnished, unable to see through a carnival huckster.

    • populists social conservatives are half of the republican party and movement conservative, ayn randist libertarians, neo-cons and the corporate wealthy have to buy the nomination with bushes or romneys until trump spent his own money. same thing happened here with clean elections when far right denounced but took clean election money to defeat business republicans. what is happening to kelli ward by mccain money is example how wealthy gop controls the majority of g.o.p. primary voters.

  2. The Democratic convention bump is becoming visible in Nate Silver’s election forecast model. I think it is also possible that Trump is facing more scrutiny as the nominee and may be losing support as folks realize this is getting real.

    However, as of 2:54 PM today, Florida and Ohio are still right on the line although leaning Democratic again. I fear that Florida will be a close race no matter what. The Democrats are dominant in southern Florida and the rest of the state is mostly red. Northern Florida, from the panhandle to Jacksonville, is Deep South. The innards, the non-coastal areas, are full of rednecks, outnumbered only by mosquitoes. But I do believe there will be a high turnout, and that should help the Democrats.

    • I wish I’d have caught his name, I have NPR on in the background while I’m working today, either a reporter reporting on polls or a pollster said there’s a serious problem with polling this year.

      There are a lot of people who won’t admit they’re going to vote for Trump, they’re embarrassed or ashamed, and he was saying the number of people they think are in this group is huge.

      This is scary, and I bet it will spill over into the exit polling.

      If I was voting for Trump I’d be embarrassed to admit it as well. These folks are probably open with each other, but the close up when they get asked by someone who may expose them.

      What an odd time we live in.

      • Tom, that is really interesting, and I would like to know more about that.

        Most of the family that I have left lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Actually, they live in west Jacksonville which is where many “conservative” white folks live.

        I suspect most of them, probably all of them will vote for Trump. I tend to think they would admit this to a pollster anonymously, but I very much doubt that most of them would talk about Trump with liberal family members, although some would.

        Trump has been given a pass up until this past week, and those days are over. Some folks are going to have a very difficult decision. I believe that his supporters are mostly white supremacists, whether or not they would use that particular label to describe themselves since they don’t really know what it means.

  3. I apologize in advance, AZ Blue….

    Ha ha! You think the Republican can be moral and ethical! Ha ha!


    To be fair, every day another half dozen prominent Republicans say they’re not voting for Cheeto Jesus, but the base doesn’t care, so the leadership won’t say squat.

    The GOP has allowed AM hate radio and cable news to spew any nonsense that will get them ratings, and for decades they said nothing, because it brought out the base.

    Now that the base has been fully lobotomized, you’re asking the GOP to step in?

    This is the party of:

    Trickle-down economics
    Jesus, the true author of the Constitution
    False flag school murders
    Sharia Law is coming!!!! There are secret ISIS training bases in the US and along the border!
    Headless bodies in the desert! They had did!
    Obama’s a Secret Muslim
    Joe Arpaio
    Agenda 21
    St. Ronnie
    Fox News/WND/NewsMax treated as legitimate news sources
    Orly Taitz! On TV! Treated as rational!
    George Bush’s face on billboards asking “Miss Me Yet?”
    Dick Cheney not at all in prison
    Michael Savage (Wiener) saying vets with PSTD are p***y’s
    Glenn Beck. Alex Jones, and the rest of the Conspiracy Whackos, babbling about Mulims and Commies working (???!!!) to create Caliphates and Obama’s remote controlled tornados
    Erik Erickson complaining that Obama gave a Medal of Honor to a guy who saved his fellow soldiers, because we used to give those out for killing the enemy!
    Gordon Klingerschmidt saying LGBT people part of Satan’s plan, and that there are demons amongst us. Demons!
    Scott Baio
    The Clinton Body Count
    Blacks were better off under slavery, three hots and a cot!
    Mexicans are rapists
    America is Exceptional (without knowing the actual meaning of the phrase)
    There were WMDs in Iraq
    Saddam Huessien went to prom with Osama bin Laden
    Obama didn’t get bin Laden, ‘Merica got Bin Laden!
    Obama is going to shut down the internet, implement martial law, and install himself as dictator for life
    Obama was a gay prostitute
    Over 50 years ago, a plot was hatched to install Barry Soetoro in the White House to destroy America
    Lock her up!
    The only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun, because more guns make us safer and guns don’t kill people anyway
    The US government has no rights to Federal lands
    Cliven Bundy is a Patriot
    Caribou Barbie would make a great President
    ISIS is coming to kill us all! Obama is helping them!
    Scott Biao (yeah, twice, because OMG)
    Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the Internets
    Ted “Admitted Pedophile” Nugent, NRA board member
    Obamacare death panels
    Obamacare death spirals
    Obamacare is bankrupting the country
    Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, and TANF is slavery
    Blacks and other minorities are more likely to commit crimes
    Voter suppression is needed because voter fraud is everywhere because ACORN!
    All Lives Matter
    Blue Lives Matter
    Black Lives Matter is a racist organization
    Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims
    Obama is feckless and Putin is a strong leader
    Occupy is coming for you, and they’re coming for blood (Glenn Beck)
    The Civil War was not about slavery
    The slaves that built the White House were happy campers!
    Ken Starr
    Private prisons
    All of the 2016 GOP candidates (Trump is no worse than the rest)

    I’ll stop, I don’t want to overload your servers, but I will say one last thing, somewhere, in some seedy hotel, right now, odds are good that a Family Values Republican Tea Party favorite is cheating on their spouse or having sex with another dude, or molesting some kids.

    And the GOP leadership will back that person, just like they did with Dennis Hastert, David Vitter…

    AZ Blue Meanie, please don’t hold your breath waiting for the GOP leadership to disavow anything, they’ve allowed their base to believe the un-belivevable, Trump is just the inevitable manifestation of the crazy.

    • I won’t disagree with your criticism of the R party, but I will say that everyone deserves a chance to change their minds. Most people are moved by slogans and unaware of policy. Some are beginning to pay attention. I don’t expect R leadership will change but some of their voters will. However I do think we need a motivated base to win and the election is likely to be closer than not so every vote will count.

  4. republican lincoln chafee had the courage to vote no why not the democrats. dems kennady and sanders voted NO! kennady said it was the best vote he ever made. as for the othe other republicans we expect reason from these traitors that is why we are DEMOCRATS!

  5. hillary clinton voted for this senseless war that has cost us dearly not because she believed in it but for political gain so the republicans could not use her vote against her. donald trump did not send khan and 5000 other americans to their death in iraq. clinton and many other democrats did and none voted for iraq war because they belived in it. by the way the woman who lost her son in benghazi and spoke at g.o.p. convention has gotten death threats instead of invitations to meet the press.

    • 97 Senators voted to give Bush war powers. Seems to me that Hillary is the only one being bashed with that vote and she has already said it was a mistake. Also the information that vote was based on was a Bush admin LIE. Yet one woman who was not part of the Bush admin is being held responsible. There is a disconnect between these things that can only be explained by a combination of misogyny and Clinton derangement syndrome. You have drunk of the Republican koolaid.

      • Only one of those 97 is asking for our vote to be Commander in Chief of the world’s more powerful military force, and have the codes for the Nuclear Football, and to be in charge of the only remaining Super Power’s foreign policy.

        The vote is part of her resume and is 100% in play for debate, GOP koolaid not withstanding.

        80 years of military intervention in every corner of the world doesn’t seem to be working very well, most thinking people would consider trying something else.

        I don’t hear Clinton suggesting something else, and her record is a might bit hawkish.

      • oct.11 2002 iraq war resolution voting NO!boxer graham akaka durbin mikulsky kennady stebenau dayton inouye sarbanes levin wellstone corzine conrad reed wyden jeffords byrd murray leahy democrats chafee republican. this is the vote NO!

        • Just goes to show, Captain, that nothing in politics is ever 100 percent. There were actually a few politicians in Congress at that time who did what was right and not what was politically expedient for themselves.

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