We elected a President not a Pope

pope

In the wee hours of the morning on November 9, 2016, though bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, I erupted in full-throated cheers and applause when Pennsylvania went to Donald Trump.

We did it!

Trump won the presidency with thirty states and 306 electoral votes.

It was a great night. And though I was alone in my office and it was after three in the morning, I cheered along with the crowd at Trump’s victory speech.

I knew full well that I was voting for a man whose past behavior was hardly righteous and without sin.

But I wasn’t a Cardinal for Pete’s sake. And we elected a President not a Pope.

No white smoke billowed from Trump Tower when Pennsylvania was called and the election sewn up.

Because … and I’m repeating myself … we elected a President not a Pope.

Right now, my church is searching for a new pastor.

And if Donald Trump was in the running, I wouldn’t choose him to be my pastor.

But on November 8, 2016, I was voting for a President, not a pastor.

Yet some Never Trumpers – who apparently are without sin and can cast the first stone – were mad at Christians for casting their vote for Donald Trump.

And more to the point, they’re still mad eighteen months later.

What’s got their knickers in a twist right now is that twelve years ago, Donald Trump slept with a porn actress. And during the 2016 election his attorney paid her a sum of money and had her sign a non-disclosure agreement to not run around telling everyone that in 2006 she slept with Trump.

Stormy’s lucky. If she slept with Bill Clinton, she might have ended up with a bullet in the back of her head in an apparent “robbery gone bad.”

But that’s not my point.

These particular Never Trumpers are upset because Christians who voted for Trump aren’t gathering up their own stones to cast at the President.

So I guess in addition to being an inauthentic conservative, I’m now also an inauthentic Christian.

Now, why I bring this up is because I just read a piece by noted Never Trumper David French over at National Review. And according to him, my unwillingness to cast the first stone will result in me standing “in the wreckage” of my own reputation wondering if it was worth it.

I’ve “torched” my “credibility and exposed immense hypocrisy through fear, faithlessness, and ambition.”

It’s as if he knows me.

Wait. Nope. He doesn’t know me at all.

But I guess he feels qualified to pass judgment on me.

What’s got his goat is because I — and apparently every Christian who supports Trump – won’t stand in judgment of Donald Trump, millions of Americans now despise us.

But there are now millions — millions — of our fellow citizens who despise us not because we follow Christ (the kind of persecution we expect) but because all too many fellow believers have torched their credibility and exposed immense hypocrisy through fear, faithlessness, and ambition.

That’s quite a sweeping statement. Isn’t it?

Now, I can’t speak for every Christian who voted for Donald Trump. Unlike Mr. French, I don’t feel qualified to know their hearts.

So I’ll just speak for myself.

I opposed Donald Trump in the primary. And at times, I was extremely critical and, frankly, kinda mean.

The only Donald Trump I knew was the one in the media – the wealthy, twice-divorced former playboy and TV personality.

It was his past that informed my opinion of him in the present.

And I was really unforgiving.

Besides which, because I supported Ted Cruz, I wanted Trump to fail. And that desire to see him lose unfairly colored my opinion of everything he said and did.

But when he became the nominee, I made the decision to start fresh with a clean slate and give him a chance. And that meant not evaluating the nominee by his past, but by the present.

It meant not making up my mind based on what pundits said, but what Mr. Trump himself said.

So I watched his speeches and campaign rallies — and I watched them with an open mind.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my preconceived notions and biased opinions had been preventing me from making an honest assessment of candidate Trump.

And once I got a measure of the man, I knew without question that voting for him was the right thing to do.

Was he still the wealthy, twice-divorced former playboy and TV personality?

Yes.

But I also saw in him a desire to be more — to become a better man.

Now, I realize that Leftists will guffaw at that statement – as will some Never Trumpers.

I get it. I used to be clouded by bias and judgmental opinions too.

So go ahead and guffaw if it makes you feel morally superior.

But I’m telling you how it is.

That is what I gleaned from watching Donald Trump.

For example, in September of 2016 I watched Mr. Trump give a talk at the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit.

While the anti-Trumpers both inside the media and outside immediately accused him of pandering, I saw someone earnestly seeking something greater than himself.

I wrote at the time:

Mr. Trump spoke briefly to those assembled at Bishop Jackson’s church. His remarks were respectful, honest, humble and uplifting.

See, I know this because I watched it.

Funny how your impression of Donald Trump changes when you actually take the time to hear what he says rather than simply listen to the “analysis” and “spin” burped out by the Enslaved Press.

Sure, none of that changes the facts of his past.

But tell me. Whose past can be changed?

It isn’t like Superman is going to spin the earth backwards so Trump’s playboy past and adulterous behavior will cease to exist.

I imagine it is difficult to run for office when you’ve lived your life in the public eye the way Donald Trump has.

You will never be forgiven for your past no matter what you do in the present.

I wasn’t always a Christian.

And there is quite a lot about my life before I got sober and found Christ that I’m not proud of.

Sure, with God’s help, I’ve learned to live my life differently.

But that doesn’t mean I’m without sin.

And neither is Donald Trump.

And when you get right down to it, neither is a pope.

Not that it matters. We didn’t elect a Pope.

We elected a Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

We don’t live in a theocracy. And to have the expectation that our nation’s leaders be sinless or even judged more harshly for being sinful doesn’t make sense to me.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

If my church expected that only members without sin could attend, I’d be out on my butt. And I wouldn’t be the only one. In fact, the pews would be completely empty and the pulpit bare.

For me to oppose President Trump because of the sins of his past would be the height of hypocrisy and sanctimony.

But as David French see it, I should feel shame for supporting our President despite his sinful past.

And I should be ashamed that I refuse to condemn him for his adultery twelve years ago with Stormy Daniels.

But who am I to condemn him?

Who am I to judge?

For that matter, who is David French to judge either me or Trump?

Was it Christian of Michael Cohen to pay Stormy Daniels hush money? No.

Was it morally wrong for Donald Trump to commit adultery? Absolutely.

But the betrayal is not mine to claim.

I’m not his wife.

No laws were broken – no crimes were committed.

It isn’t up to a court of law to decide how Donald Trump atones for that infidelity.

And it isn’t up to me to decide if and when his atonement is enough.

Listen, I pray for our President daily.

Believe it or not, I even prayed for Barack Obama.

Sure, I opposed his policies and I believe that he did unimaginable damage to our Republic. But I still prayed for him.

I have seen in Donald Trump a desire to be a better man. And I pray that he continues to grow in Christ.

Yes, he is imperfect. I recognize it well because so am I.

As a Christian, I pray for his soul, his health, his discernment — and, yes his marriage and family. And I pray that God continues to stir in his heart a humble desire for repentance.

All of that I can do without condoning the sins of his past – or judging the sins of his past.

I see the work that President Trump has accomplished during his time in office thus far. Some of it I have criticized. But most of it I have applauded.

My responsibility as an American – whether a Christian or not – is to evaluate him on his job performance as the Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

It is not for me to judge him on the condition of his soul.

I am not without sin.

So I won’t be one who casts the first stone.

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26 thoughts on “We elected a President not a Pope

  • May 4, 2018 at 3:44 pm
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    Most of these idiots were silent when Kennedy cheated on his wife, I could not care less about Trump’s past.

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    • May 4, 2018 at 3:51 pm
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      I don’t think David French was old enough when Kennedy was President. Did you even take the time to read this?!

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      • May 5, 2018 at 9:25 am
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        Oh no, I did read this wonderful article. I was referring to the people holding Kennedy in higher moral standards. Sorry

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        • May 5, 2018 at 11:56 am
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          Don’t take it personally. I was cranky yesterday. Humidity and Lupus don’t mix. Sorry I took your head off.

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          • May 5, 2018 at 12:09 pm
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            None taken.
            Hope you’re feeling better

  • May 4, 2018 at 4:20 pm
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    Unlike most every other hypocritical politician, especially those on the Right, Trump never portrayed himself as a paragon of virtue and morality. He campaigned as a tough, sometimes nasty, dirty fighter and that’s exactly the kind of President we need.

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    • May 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm
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      I’m with Jeff S. Trump did not surprise me at all….except by winning and man was I happy he did!

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  • May 5, 2018 at 9:55 pm
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    Every saint has a past, and every sinner a future.

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    • May 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm
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      P.S. I have zero tolerance for those that weaponize religion and play “I’m a better Christian than you are!”

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      • May 6, 2018 at 2:02 pm
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        And most of those Christians don’t understand the meaning of Matthew 7:3-5.

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  • May 6, 2018 at 3:24 pm
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    So, I take it that when Trump denies banging Stormy, you don’t believe him and think he is lying. Does it not bother you that Trump lies? Do you expect your president to be truthful to you? If he lies about something this inconsequential, what else is he lying about? Can you really believe anything that he says?

    I’m no lefty, am a Christian and voted for Trump. But the level at which his supporters worship at the alter of personality and don’t hold him to the same standard they would hold their spouse or their kids, very troubling.

    The day after the election he should have said something like ,” I’m an imperfect man with an imperfect past. You voted for me not because of who I was but because I can change things, I can drain the swamp, I can put America first, I can get folks back to work. I will do all these things, but most importantly, I will be honest with you, admit past mistakes, and together we will forge a better future for ourselves and our children”. We would have given him a clean slate to work with and absorbed the slings and arrows of past indiscretions. Instead, he lies to us.

    If honesty means anything at all to you, you have to be bothered by the alacrity at which he prevaricates. Can there be any trust at all without honesty as the foundation? Given his fall back position to rely on deception, can we believe anything he says?

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    • May 6, 2018 at 3:37 pm
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      He said he would bring jobs back. He did.
      He said he would unleash hell on ISIS. He did.
      He said he would cut taxes. He did.
      He said he would get other NATO countries pay more. He did.
      He said he would end TPP. He did.
      He said he would fight for better trade deals. He is.
      Shall I go on?

      Can we believe anything he says? Apparently we can.

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  • May 6, 2018 at 4:34 pm
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    I would agree with most of that, except the trade deals, so far all his tariff bluster has done is spoke the market. No repeal of Obamacare and no wall, but yes, I agree with your premise.

    Trump has done some great things, some would even say he has outdone Reagan his first year;
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/heritage-donald-trump-has-achieved-more-than-ronald-reagan-in-first-year

    But I just want you to be clear, honestly is not important to you?
    Do citizens have a legitimate expectation that their leaders, most notably the president, be honest with them?
    Trump could easily just admit to past indiscretions, we all know he did it, no secret, yet continues to deceive and practice aggressive dishonestly, this does not bother you?

    For sake of argument, what if there was Russian collusion (not saying there was so don’t blow a gasket) and it was never discovered, would that bother you? He know that Trump lied about Stormy, lets say he lied to us about other innocuous things like other past indiscretions, present Trump Enterprise actions, or even the taxpayer money used to ferry Melania back and forth on her numerous jaunts, all legal yet Trump lies about it, would that bother you?

    I Thank God every day that Hillary is not president and so far Trump has done good. But I don’t buy into the cult of personality, and call them as I see them. If he does good I praise him, if he does bad I slam him, all concerned citizens should do likewise.

    Not only is dishonesty a character flaw, it is lazy and not very smart, one lie begats another then another to the point where your time is consumed protecting old lies and not doing the people’s bidding.

    I want him to be effective, he could be more effective if he did his mea culpa, showed some contrition and vowed to level with the American people, good or bad.

    It bothers me that some conservatives do not hold their president to the same standard that they would hold their kids, or does the end justify the means?

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    • May 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm
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      Why is it so important to you to know what would bother me? Are you a regular reader? Did you not see in this column where I said there are times I’ve been critical of Trump? While I’d love it if we could get a president who is a sinless, perfect man, I have to settle for reality. No man is perfect. All have sinned and fall short. And while Trump isn’t and will never be perfect, I take the President we have — warts and all — because I see him working toward what he said he would. But Trump isn’t my Savior. I have a Savior. And He is the only one who is sinless and perfect.

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  • May 6, 2018 at 5:16 pm
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    Not a regular reader but what I have read I like so far.

    I don’t see our choices as binary, either a perfect man (does not exist here on earth) or someone like Trump who does not care about honesty.

    I think it is human nature to want our leaders to act like leaders, to espouse character, honesty, and integrity, to be more like us and want to be a better person.

    I am thrilled that Trump has accomplished what he has so far (and I have a long list of things I want him to work on next) but if we are a good people, we should want our leaders to be good as well.

    I don’t mean to be argumentative. I noticed lately many right leaning blogs discussing this same issue and yours was the one I weighed in on.

    We should all aspire to be more Christ like (never getting there, of course) and I see nothing wrong with wanting my president to not only be effective, but be honorable as well. Lying all the time is going backwards.

    I like your blog and hope to comment more in the future. keep up the good work.

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    • May 6, 2018 at 5:28 pm
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      As I said, I pray for the President daily. And among other things I pray for his spiritual journey. I see in Trump a desire for God. I believe his heart is sincere in this respect. While I know he isn’t Honest Abe, I think it’s just a touch hyperbolic to say he lies all the time.

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  • May 6, 2018 at 9:01 pm
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    I believe that POTUS has had a “come to Jesus moment” as I have, as others have,,,,and Jesus not only has forgiven our sins, He remembers them no more,,,so when you are forgiven, you are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness,,,,so if POTUS is now a follower of Jesus, he is making amends to his family, and to his friends, and to others, and I say “Amen”

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  • May 6, 2018 at 9:34 pm
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    “so if POTUS is now a follower of Jesus, he is making amends to his family, and to his friends, and to others, and I say “Amen””

    First off, you don’t know if he is a follower of Jesus. And making amends involves an admission of wrong doing with a promise that he will try to do better. He is still lying about the affair and the hush money, this hardly qualifies in my mind as making amends.

    See, this is what I mean, blind subservience. Forgiveness is hardly warranted if the sin is being repeated.

    The genuineness of his conversion is between him and his maker. But since he is my president and not my pastor, I’m not concerned about his soul, only his performance as president. He is setting a terrible example to young people and is not acting presidential when he lies. I expect better, you should too.

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    • May 7, 2018 at 6:15 am
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      Fine. You should expect better. You happy? Feel better?

      In this age where we cannot trust that the news media is being truthful in any of their stories, it is impossible to know who is lying if you want to know the truth. Stormy is hardly an unimpeachable source. Her attorney is an opportunist and vulture. The news media has a vested interest in this story thriving. So honestly, with that kind of dynamic, I’m not sure whom to believe.

      Facts are in short supply all around.

      But if it makes you feel vindicated and righteous, fine. We should expect better.

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  • May 7, 2018 at 9:41 am
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    Well, this conversation has run it’s course. I will close with this; Me pointing out the president’s shortcomings and the blind loyalty some Christians feel obligated to for reasons I don’t understand has nothing whatsoever to do with vindication or me being righteous.

    I want Trump to be successful and he has done some great things, but character flaws that inhibit his agenda being advanced should be recognized and corrected if at all possible. When obvious bad behavior, dishonesty, does not bother good people, that is troubling to me.

    In your bio you said this;

    “And after Clinton and the stupid, silly, dishonest shenanigans he pulled in the White House, having an honorable man in the Oval Office was a breath of fresh air.”

    I felt the same way at the time, but I wonder why having an honorable man in the Oval Office is not important to you now?

    Anyway, I like your blog and wish you success.

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    • May 7, 2018 at 10:04 am
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      Corrected by whom? You? Me? It seems to me what you want is to be vindicated — for your opinion on this to win the day. And short of prostrating myself to you and telling you that you’re right and I’m wrong, I don’t think you’ll be satisfied with anything I say — which might explain why you want this conversation to stop. There is absolutely nothing in what I wrote in this column that indicates I condone or overlook Mr. Trump’s history of infidelity. But I will not condemn him for it either. I pray for the President. Which, I think I might have mentioned once or twice already. But I suppose I could jettison that course of action and instead shake my fist angrily at the sky until his sins are corrected while at the same time shaking my other fist at any Christian who does not do the same. But I think I’ll stick with praying for him.

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  • May 7, 2018 at 10:37 am
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    “Corrected by whom? You? Me?”

    By Trump, of course. He is the mover engaging in bad behavior, it is up to him to change course, I thought that was obvious.

    “And short of prostrating myself to you and telling you that you’re right and I’m wrong”

    Putting aside your histrionics, it’s not a matter of being right or wrong. I thought the whole purpose of a blog was to exchange ideas and share different POV. Or would you rather have an echo chamber?

    “There is absolutely nothing in what I wrote in this column that indicates I condone or overlook Mr. Trump’s history of infidelity.”

    Since I am a new reader I don’t know if you are intentionally being obtuse. I thought I was clear in my comments when I mentioned more than once, the infidelity is unimportant to me since it is past behavior. No, the reoccurring behavior that I’m talking about is the lying, he keeps doing it.

    “I don’t think you’ll be satisfied with anything I say — which might explain why you want this conversation to stop.”

    If you have something new to offer than by all means, keep it going, but rehashing past arguments is not productive. Again, I thought the whole purpose of a blog was to express ideas. This is not a cage match where there is a winner and a loser, we are just having a conversation.

    “But I suppose I could jettison that course of action and instead shake my fist angrily at the sky until his sins are corrected while at the same time shaking my other fist at any Christian who does not do the same.”

    Now who is indulging in hyperbole? No fist shaking on my end and I’m certainly not angry but if an honest conversation is not your thing and all you want here is folks saying ,”Right on, preach it, sister”, that’s cool.

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    • May 7, 2018 at 11:37 am
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      No, that isn’t what I want. I don’t expect 100% fealty here. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I write. The purpose of this website is this: Conservative commentary and satire. I speak for me. It is my commentary. I don’t demand everyone agree. In fact, I expect from time-to-time that I will posit a position or advance an idea that will royally piss people off. In fact I know that some of my regular, long-term readers often don’t agree with me.

      Truthfully, I was unaware there was a single purpose of the Blog. Maybe it’s crazy talk, but I think every individual probably has his or her own specific reason for starting a website.

      I welcome debate and I engage in debate — as is evident from this ongoing thread. It does, however, piss me off when another commenter speaks her mind and you accuse her of blind subservience. That isn’t honest conversation, my friend. That is an attack. And while I may not share C’s absolute confidence in Trump’s conversion, I welcome and respect her comments.

      You and I agree on more than I think you realize. The difference seems to be in how we deal with the situation. My choice is to pray for the President and continue to support his agenda. If President Trump turns his back on the agenda that got him elected, I will not support him. And if he turns the Oval Office into his personal brothel while turning interns into humidors, I will not support him.

      The situation we have today is unlike anything we have ever seen. We have a news media that is actively trying to destroy the President. So much so they will go to any length and tell any lie if they think it will help them meet that goal. I do not trust what they tell us. Not one bit. I don’t know how Mr. Trump is able to continue moving his agenda forward in such a hostile, vindictive climate. But he is. Has he made missteps in dealing with the onslaught? Yes. Frankly, I don’t know if any man could have done any better given what he is up against. Context matters here. When someone is constantly taking relentless bombardment from people who hate him, I can’t imagine any one of us managing it better.

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  • May 7, 2018 at 11:53 am
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    this man seems to need to have the last word….so okay dude go on, have it……and no matter what you say, since we are followers of Jesus we love you anyway…Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your G-d with all of your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself…..so be at peace @richtaylor

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  • May 7, 2018 at 3:26 pm
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    “You and I agree on more than I think you realize.”

    Why do you think I read your blog? We are of like mind on most stuff I think. I co author another right leaning blog that is fairly new and growing. We tend to gravitate to those that share our values and I agree with most of the stuff you post.

    “The difference seems to be in how we deal with the situation. My choice is to pray for the President and continue to support his agenda.”

    Why can’t we do those things AND hold him to a certain standard? Can’t we support his agenda and expect him to be a mensch while pursuing that agenda? Getting stuff done is great but how you act, how you carry yourself and image you convey to others, also important. I want my leaders to be roll models, to conduct business and themselves honorably, to personify those attributes Americans cherish like dignity, compassion, and humility. Yes, Trump is none of these, but can’t I hope that he will one day see the light and behave better?

    “That is an attack”

    It was delivered as a critical observation, not an attack, sorry if you took it that way.

    “When someone is constantly taking relentless bombardment from people who hate him, I can’t imagine any one of us managing it better.”

    Here is where I will have to respectfully disagree. Every Republican is relentlessly bombarded by those that hate him. Bush was constantly attacked by those that hate him. That is what Democrats do, they vilify, slander, and attack. We should do better. I think you can stay on point, argue policy, tout your agenda, and show people that your way is the better way without wallowing in the mud and being just as nasty as our opponents. Our ideas separate us from the Democrats but our behavior should as well, we should be the adults in the room.

    “.so be at peace @richtaylor”

    Thanks for the kind words, C, I am at peace.

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    • May 7, 2018 at 5:45 pm
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      Only two things:
      1. Comparing how Bush was attacked to how Trump is attacked is like someone with a hangnail complaining about the pain to someone dying of terminal cancer.

      2. Yes, we have had lots of adults in the room-type Republicans. They were honorable. And they lost. They preferred to remain gentlemen losers who let the Left mow us down. We are, for all intents and purposes, in a war to preserve our Republic. And war isn’t pretty. Gentlemen losers cannot be the general in this fight. I am actually glad that President Trump isn’t a Gentleman Loser. He knows the only way to defeat the Left is to actually meet them on the battlefield. While standing above it — too honorable to fight — may make one noble, it doesn’t do a damn thing to defeat an ideology that wants us subjugated and powerless. And on this point, we will have to agree to disagree.

      Reply

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