By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN
There seems to be new hope among some Republican leaders that their presidential candidate Donald Trump is finally coming around to doing what they have desperately been pleading for: changing into a more acceptable representative of their party.
The idea is that he must be“presidential” if he wants to defeat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.As a result,Trump is said to be getting“on message”and trying hard to avoid the rantings that have characterized his candidacy since he first announced his Oval Office bid just over a year ago.
Many of his supporters have been dismissing his tirades against anyone he sets his sights on as just campaign rhetoric.But even leaders of the Grand Old Party have denounced many of his pronouncements and many of his policy positions.
Trump’s detractors accuse him,with good reason,of vices such as coddling racists,attacking “minorities,” deriding women and mocking the disabled.Indeed,there seems to be a particular kind of gleefulness in him when he fabricates information all by himself or seeks to give credence to lies that others make by tweeting or retweeting them.
He showed no qualms about denouncing Mexicans and Muslims,referring to a black person at one of his rallies as “my African American,”insulting journalist Megyn Kelly and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Serge Kovaleski who suffers from a ailment that affects the movement of the arms,and insulting our soldiers by picking a fight with the parents of posthumous Medal of Honor recipient Humayan Khan.
He lied about seeing a video which showed that “thousands of people were cheering”in New Jersey as the World Trade Center buildings were coming down during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.The idea there was to win more support by further inflaming the anti-Muslim sentiments that already runs deep in the country.More recently, he lied about seeing video of the plane carrying the $400 million in cash that the U.S. government sent to Iran – but at least this one he quickly took back.
He has taken his time about disassociating himself from some of the most rabid racists in the country and,in any case,they do not care because they are sure they have finally found a champion for their cause and they are not letting go. The definitive rebuke which bigotry requires under any circumstances,and especially from someone who hopes to lead all the people, has not been forthcoming.
To leaders of the party which he has now appropriated, it is good news that their presidential nominee appears to be“pivoting” away from such obnoxious behavior, with a new focus on Clinton, aided by a teleprompter, a piece of equipment which he has maligned in the past.
But it should be no cause for celebration that Trump appears to be striving mightily to keep himself in check. For one thing, there is no guarantee that he will not revert to his traditional obnoxious self if he becomes president and commander-in-chief. There are indeed many disaffected Americans who sincerely see Trump as the candidate who will effectively address their grievances but are the majority of Americans really willing to hand the presidency to him?
If in his reprehensible remarks Trump’s intention has been simply to generate support for his campaign, that in itself should disqualify him from becoming the leader of our nation.We must not allow anyone,especially politicians,whatever their ideological inclination, to seek sanctuary in the belief that the end justifies the means.
The presidency of the United States embodies a two-fold function. One acknowledges that the occupant of the Oval Office is also a political animal who can be expected to be partisan while seeking the office and even while performing the duties of chief executive.
But the president is also expected to be someone who embodies all that is good in us as a people and as a country,the symbol of the best of America.