Will Greenwich Republicans disavow Donald Trump?

Listen to your own party, dump Trump.

The state of Connecticut is as blue as they come, but state and local officials representing the town of Greenwich, where I live, are overwhelmingly Republican. This open letter, a shorter version of which was published in Greenwich Time, is directed to them, but it is meant for all those Republicans who are being excused by friends, family and colleagues as “good people” who are just making an “unfortunate decision”.

In the days since Donald Trump’s predatory sexual behavior was revealed on the Access Hollywood tape Republican leaders have deserted him in droves. However, as reported by Greenwich Time (Oct 16 news story, Trouble with the Trump question), that does not include any of the Town’s GOP leaders. At their recent annual picnic two weeks ago one of our State Representatives did just the opposite; he rallied the crowd to “make sure Donald Trump becomes president of the United States.”

So I’m writing to ask our Republican state delegation, Senator Frantz and Representatives Floren, Camillo and Bocchino, and our Republican Selectmen Tesei and Toner, to unequivocally denounce Trump as unfit for office and not deserving of their votes.

There is a line that needs to be drawn. Beyond it elected officials cannot make excuses or stay silent without being complicit in condoning a candidate who lacks the moral character to be President, who represents a security risk to the country and who is a pathological liar.

Our Republican leaders’ stance summons the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and early anti-Nazi activist, who said, “ Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Being an outspoken Democrat, I don’t expect to convince our GOP leaders to renounce their own candidate. But it’s not me exposing the racist, sexist, misogynistic and irresponsible behaviors of Donald Trump. It’s Republican leaders and the most conservative, respected voices of their party who are painting this picture of Trump.

I am not trying to convince Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton, although it is notable that conservative and previously nonpartisan news publications across the country are breaking with tradition to endorse a Democrat rather than Donald Trump.

The Columbus Dispatch endorsed Hillary, ending a century of endorsing only Republicans. They called Trump “morally bankrupt.” Also endorsing Clinton is The Arizona Republic, which has never endorsed a Democrat in its 126-year history. Its editors wrote that Trump shows “a stunning lack of human decency.” USA Today is for the first time ever endorsing a presidential candidate. Their editorial board calls Trump “unfit for the presidency.” Will Greenwich Republicans say the same?

Donald Trump is not an ambassador for conservative values. The National Review, founded by the “father” of the conservative movement, William F. Buckley, Jr., devoted an entire issue to make the case against Trump. Among Trump’s detractors, Glenn Beck, as conservative as they come, called him “a crisis for conservatism.” David Boaz, EVP of the Koch Brothers-funded Cato Institute wrote, “I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan.” William Krystal, standard-bearer for the conservative movement exhorted “Isn’t the task of conservatives today to stand athwart Trumpism, yelling Stop?”

The breadth of Republican opposition to their nominee is unprecedented. Prominent Republicans are not just reluctant to vote for him, they are denouncing him in no uncertain terms. Mitt Romney said Trump’s words and actions reveal a “character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world.”

Even those who have stood by Trump despite personal insults and defaming the core of their character have abandoned him. Senator McCain, on the receiving end of Trump’s disrespect for veterans that would have crushed the ambitions of any other candidate, said it was “impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.”

Trump’s lack of respect for the military is unparalleled. When he was given a Purple Heart at a campaign rally he said, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier!” It surely was, for Purple Hearts are awarded to veterans killed or injured in the line of duty. About his flippant, dishonorable remark, John Bircher, national spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Hearts, called Trump’s action “an act of stolen valor.”

Trump has equal disdain for the Constitution. He encourages his supporters’ jeers of “lock her up” and “Hillary for prison.” He took that to a new level during the second debate, threatening to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her, and then saying she’d be in jail if he were President (making the prosecutorial threat moot). Former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer responded, “Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail.”

Sadly, most politicians stretch the truth and lie at times; that includes Hillary Clinton. But Donald Trump is in a league of his own. PolitiFact, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, typically selects one fact for its Annual Lie of the Year. Last year it found it impossible to pick just one of Trump’s falsehoods, so it “rolled them into one big trophy” and awarded it the Lie of the Year. In scoring some 300 Trump statements, PolitiFact found fully three-quarters of them to be “mostly false” or worse, more than any other politician.

Beyond his well-documented character flaws, Trump’s policy views are so ill-informed they would seriously jeopardize the security — military, economic and otherwise — of the nation. Karl Rove, once called the de facto leader of the Republican Party by Vanity Fair, called Trump “a complete idiot.”

During the primary, one Greenwich Republican was quoted saying, “I certainly will support Donald Trump…we need a leader to stand up to the terrorists and rogue nations.” Notably, some of the harshest words from Republicans are about national security.

Breaking with tradition, 50 Republican national security experts took the extraordinary step of openly calling on Americans to oppose Trump’s candidacy. Describing Trump as “fundamentally dishonest,” they wrote, “he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world.” The stature of the GOP group is impressive, including two former secretaries of Homeland Security, a former CIA and NSA director, Dick Cheney’s national security advisor and a former U.S. Attorney General.

Another of our GOP state delegation said, “I do think that his business experience and skill in negotiating deals would serve him well in the White House.” Not so, says business community. A group of business leaders, led by Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce for George W. Bush and former CEO of the Kellogg Company wrote they “are convinced he would be bad for business, bad for the economy, and bad for the people who work for our companies,” and went on to mention the negative consequences for their customers and investors.

They contend that losing nearly a billion dollars during a period of economic growth is unthinkable. Being considered such a business risk that “almost all major banks understandably refuse to lend to Trump or his businesses” and being involved in “an astonishing 3,500 lawsuits” is not a sign of business acumen.

Trump’s beliefs are plainly ignorant. He tweeted in 2012 “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” According to the Sierra Club, “Trump would be the only world leader who did not believe in the science of climate change.”

Analysis of climate change studies by practicing climate scientists in peer-reviewed scientific journals show nearly unanimous agreement — 97 percent — that climate change is real and caused by human activity. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) puts it more plainly, asking “If I went to 10 doctors and nine said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna die,’ and one says ‘You’re fine,’ why would I believe the one guy?”

Please, Greenwich Republican leaders, show that the values at the root of our democracy are more important than party loyalty. Say you won’t vote for Donald Trump.

Jonathan Perloe is vice chair of communications for the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee, although the views expressed here are his own.