Peter Wehner is no Republican in Name Only.
Neither is John Danforth, or Mitt Romney, or Jeb Bush, or John McCain. They are among an increasing number of serious-minded individuals — some of whom have been in public service for decades — who are speaking out finally against another prominent member of their political party.
I refer to the president of the United States of America, Donald John Trump.
I mention Wehner in this post because I want to include an essay he’s written for the New York Times.
The overarching issue for the president seems, in my mind, to be fairly clear cut. He’s not a Republican. He’s a classic RINO. He attached himself to a political party because it suited his personal ambition. Besides, he had spent years defaming a Democratic president, Barack Obama, suggesting he wasn’t a “natural born” American, that he was born overseas and, therefore, wasn’t qualified to hold his high office.
It didn’t stop there. He questioned President Obama’s academic credentials. He suggested that the president really didn’t earn Harvard law degree, or that he didn’t excel academically. He said Obama was a fraud.
So, he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Then, of course, he was elected.
But he’s no Republican. Wehner, who has served under three GOP presidents, laments the wreckage that Trump has brought to the presidency. It’s almost as if Trump has formed a sort of de facto political party that is neither Republican or Democratic. As Wehner writes in the Times:
“The more offensive Mr. Trump is to the rest of America, the more popular he becomes with his core supporters. One policy example: At a recent rally in Phoenix, the president said he was willing to shut down the government over the question of funding for a border wall, which most of his base favors but only about a third of all Americans want.”
Yes, his base — even though it is shrinking — still loves the guy. They cheer his idiotic rants. They proclaim their adherence to an individual who “tells it like it is.” They dismiss any notion that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, that he doesn’t understand how government works, that he has spent his entire adult professional life with one mission only: to enrich himself.
I have conceded many times that this guy has defied the laws of conventional political gravity. The idea that he could be elected after hurling the insults, defaming his foes, and lying virtually daily is in itself a stunning testimony to the national mood — which Trump managed to mine.
Peter Wehner’s essay, though, is worth reading. It reminds us — or at least it should remind us — that governance requires a depth of knowledge and an understanding of history that the 45th president has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks.
Just think, too, that this criticism is coming from a member of the president’s own political party.