Johnny Isakson’s Dangerous Stance on Trump
W ith the antics of Donald Trump dominating the headlines the obvious question for every Republican is: where do you stand on Trump? Many have given their support for “the ticket” or “the party” without mentioning Trump specifically, but as Trump ratchets up the rhetoric, pressure has been mounting for his fellow Republicans. Will they continue to support Trump as he attacks Gold Star families and insinuates assassination as a political tactic? Well, these questions have started to get under Johnny Isakson’s skin. He gave the following quote in response:
Let’s draw the line right here: I’m going to apologize any time I do something stupid. I’m going to be responsible for my actions, but I’m not going to assume responsibility for anyone else’s. What I say is what I say. I’m not an apologist for anybody, and if somebody’s offended somebody, they need to be the person apologizing, not me…And I am supportive of our party and I’m a member of the party. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
There are some serious issues with Isakson’s stance on this issue. This might be acceptable if it was a disagreement with Trump’s tax plan or foreign policy. But Trump’s actions are bigger than a political disagreement. The vitriol in our politics has reached a new level this year, and Trump is only making it worse. By laying the foundation for delegitimizing his competition he sets an unhealthy precedent in our democratic system, and by perpetuating myths of rampant voter fraud he only expounds the problem. Combine this with his latest “joke” implying that violence is an appropriate remedy can only add irrational justification to the crowds cheering “lock her up” and “Hillary for Prison.” (See Thomas Friedman’s NYT op-ed).
Isakson joins a number of Republicans trying to stick their heads in the sand to avoid Trump completely. They support “the party” and “the ticket,” but they will not condemn Trump’s actions. If you support the ticket, then you support the names on the ticket. The ticket is Trump. There is no way to separate Trump, the ticket, and the party. Leaders like Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus have stood by Trump for the sake of the party. How can you stand by Trump when he’s willing to ruin the party you’ve built? Throughout the last week, Priebus wouldn’t condemn anything Trump said until he refused to endorse Paul Ryan in his primary. Party unity really does trump all in Priebus’s world.
This isn’t about apologizing on behalf of Trump; it is about telling the American people that you do not stand for what Trump stands for. That you, Mr. Isakson, do not stand for the incitement of violence. That you do not stand for racist diatribes. That you do not stand in silence when the demagogue representing your party mocks a disabled reporter. Trump is a danger to our democratic process, and Johnny Isakson should have the courage to stand up and condemn the actions of a man so unfit to serve as our President.