When Donald Trump announced his intention to run for President of the United States, not many took him seriously. But over the past year as his campaign ran roughshod over the other 15 candidates in the Republican primaries and he emerged as the GOP’s presidential nominee, the jokes about his candidacy got less funny and the media got more serious about fact checking his speeches. What remained crazy, however, were his statements which prompted even US President Barack Obama to state that Trump is unfit to be president and people outside the US don’t understand how the electoral race arrived at this juncture.
Trump’s craziness began with his very first announcement speech when he made this statement:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”
He announced that he would build a wall between the two countries and make Mexico pay for it. Of course Mexico refused to do anything of that sort. As shocking as that statement was, it just got worse.
Muslims and the disabled
After the San Bernardino shooting, Trump claimed that US must ban all Muslims from entering the country. He also claimed that after 9/11, Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center. Even when it was revealed that he was wrong, he was unrepentant. He simply went on to mock a disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski, during a rally in South Carolina.
He managed to offend Rosie O’Donell ("If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired"), Heidi Klum ("Sadly, she’s no longer a 10") and Megyn Kelly ("You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever") with his statements, making it clear that he has no respect for women. Remember this remark he made during the primaries?
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
Because women are his possessions, of course. In fact, his anti-women stance got to such a point that The New York Times actually did an investigation into how he treats women in private.
And don’t forget his stance on abortion rights, when he clearly said, “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who undergo abortion. The backlash he received was so furious, he was forced to retract his statement.
Every candidate has views on certain issues, so why is that Trump is being called crazy for his views? Well, that’s not only because they are nonsensical but also because he has ended up alienating his own party with his statements. Not that he cares, of course, if his party colleagues don’t support him, he doesn’t support them either.
During the primaries, Trump repeatedly called Ted Cruz, ‘Lyin’ Ted’. That’s something Cruz did not forget and when he spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, he made it very clear that he was not endorsing Trump.
Ryan, McCain and Trump
In July 2015, respected Republican senator John McCain denounced Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants. Trump retaliated by saying that McCain, who was held prisoner during the Vietnam War, was not a war hero.
"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured," Trump said.
Other Republicans immediately came out in support of McCain and denounced Trump.
The Republican presidential candidate also faced backlash from his party when he stated that Judge Gonzalo Curiel who was hearing a case against Trump University was biased because he was “Mexican”. The judge was actually born in the American state of Indiana. Prominent Republicans spoke up against Trump. Among them was Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, who had just days before, endorsed Trump’s candidacy.
“Look, the comment about the judge, just was out of left field for my mind," Ryan said. "Its reasoning I don't relate to; I completely disagree with the thinking behind that."
When Trump criticised the Muslim parents of fallen US soldier Capt. Humayun Khan after the Democratic National Convention, Republican leaders lashed out. McCain issued a statement saying, “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.”
Trump of course didn’t forget Ryan and McCain’s statements against him and when he was asked during an interview earlier this week whether he would endorse the two leaders who are contesting elections in their states, he refused to do so.
The friction within the Republican Party has reached a flashpoint with prominent Republicans publicly stating that they’ll support Hillary Clinton instead. Richard Hanna became the first sitting Republican congressman to do so when on Tuesday, he wrote in an op-ed on Syracuse.com that he will vote for Clinton.
Later Tuesday, Hewlett-Packard executive Meg Whitman — a prominent Republican fundraiser — threw her support behind Clinton, saying, "Donald Trump's demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character."
Also on Tuesday, the woman who helped shape New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's national image declared that she's voting for Clinton.
"As someone who has worked to further the Republican Party's principles for the last 15 years, I believe that we are at a moment where silence isn't an option," former Christie senior aide Maria Comella told CNN.
Both Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have made it clear that they will not vote for Trump in the elections. In fact, the entire Bush family stayed away from the Republican Convention, the first time they have done so.
Republican Party leaders are yet to reach a point when they ask their voters not to choose Trump, but that became only clearer when Obama asked them why they are not doing so.
Addressing his remarks to Republicans, Obama said at a press conference, "If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him? This isn't a situation where you have an episodic gaffe."
He went on: "There has to be a point in which you say this is not somebody I can support for President of the United States, even if he purports to be a member of my party. ...There has to come a point at which you say enough."
For once, the Republicans had nothing to say in their defence.
With inputs from agencies
First Published On : Aug 5, 2016 07:59 IST