Matthew Dowd wondered today why none of Donald Trump’s defenders is defending his integrity, his honesty, his character.
The Republican political operative posed a fascinating question. It got me thinking a bit. I came up with this: I cannot find — and, yes, I am a harsh critic of this president — a single redeeming quality that is worthy of defense.
I am a devoted fan of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — even though I was disgusted by President Clinton’s conduct with the intern during his second term. I didn’t support George W. Bush’s presidency, but having had the honor of talking at length with him when he was governor of Texas, I found him to be engaging, devoted to his family and far smarter than many media snobs gave him credit for being.
I have said for many years that W’s father, George H.W. Bush, was the most qualified man ever to seek the presidency: World War II combat vet, successful businessman, CIA director, U.N. ambassador, special envoy to China, Republican Party chairman, vice president of the United States. And, yes, he is devoted to his marvelous family.
Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford both were decent men who became president after difficult tenures of their predecessors. President Ford might be the most underrated man ever to hold the office. I admired him greatly for the civility and decency he brought to the White House after the turmoil and tempest of the Watergate scandal. President Reagan could skewer his foes with the best of them, but he did so with wit and grace.
President Jimmy Carter was without question the godliest man who has served in the office during my lifetime.
This brings me back to Donald Trump. A serial adulterer. A man who lies on all matters, big and small. He treats women harshly. He insults his foes and has ridiculed a journalist with a serious physical handicap. He has hurled epithets at a Gold Star family. He has denigrated the Vietnam War service of a distinguished U.S. senator, while dismissing the fact that he sought to avoid service in that bloody conflict.
Do I disagree with every policy pronouncement Trump has made? No. I support his call for tougher border security. I applaud his get-tough approach to Syria. I wish him well as he prepares for a potentially landmark summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
However, I cannot find a redeeming personal quality about the president worth defending.
Part of me wishes I could find one. Just one! I’ll keep looking, searching and hoping something surfaces.