Hypocrisy. Mendacity. Moral double-speak. They’re as old as humanity, and yet somehow ever new.
Welcome to today’s GOP — no principles required.
Republican leaders — including Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, Scott Walker and Robin Vos — damn Donald Trump out of one side of their mouths while endorsing him with the other. They seek to eat their partisan cake while avoiding indigestion in the voting booth.
The duplicitous character of the state’s GOP leaders was reflected in a recent headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that proclaimed: “Walker, Johnson, Ryan skipping Trump event.” The event in question was a rally held Aug. 5 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. All three said they had previous engagements.
A principled stand against Trumpism? Think again.
Walker might have ditched the Green Bay rally, but his name appears prominently — as an honorary host, no less — on the invitation to a big-ticket fundraising reception for the Republican nominee to be held in Milwaukee on Aug. 16. Other honorary hosts include Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the latter for comic relief, perhaps.
Meanwhile, Johnson takes double-speak to new heights, “supporting” Trump but not “endorsing” him. Follow?
Supporting Trump is like playing Russian roulette with the nation’s future, and the majority of GOP leaders know it. Barack Obama called him “unfit to serve as President,” and a right-wing National Review correspondent — and certified Obama-hater — agreed: “Of course it is true.”
Trump’s ignorance is exceeded only by his narcissism. His psychosocial development is stuck at the same stage as infants whose only way of interacting with the world is standing in their cribs and screaming when they want something. If Trump got elected, White House staff would have to set up a high chair in the Oval Office.
Fortunately, there are a number of conscientious Republicans, including the state’s staunchest GOP business leaders, who care more about the nation than about partisan politics. The list of prominent anti-Trump Republicans is growing so fast that it will probably have doubled — at least — by the time this editorial is seen in print.
The anti-Trump list includes influential right-wing Wisconsin radio personality Charlie Sykes, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and major Republican donors such as Meg Whitman, who’s contributing money to Hillary Clinton instead. Three prominent former members of George W. Bush’s administration — Richard Armitage, Henry Paulson, Brent Scowcroft — have also announced they’re supporting Clinton.
Although these apostatizing conservatives deserve a shout-out, it comes with a caveat: Republicans themselves paved the way for Trump’s ascension by decades of promoting divisiveness, fear, racism, economic inequality and anti-intellectualism. We hope the shock of reaping what they’ve sown will throw them on a better path.
The leadership shown by these Republican insurgents only magnifies our disgust with politicians like Ryan, Walker, Johnson and Sen. John McCain, who continue to support Trump despite their very public, very grave reservations. Their reputations are — and should be — diminishing by the minute.
“Love the sinner but hate the sin” has never made any sense, and it’s not a noble strategy for a presidential election.