Step aside, Donald

Republican office holders have had ample opportunity to take a principled stand and distance themselves from Donald Trump.

Throughout his campaign, Trump has provided a full buffet of outrageous remarks, any one of which could have triggered a wholesale rejection of his candidacy by the GOP establishment.

Newspapers haven’t shied from calling attention to Trump’s shortcomings. Some conservative newspapers, which have endorsed Republicans for decades, have either endorsed Hillary Clinton or warned voters about the dangers of a Trump presidency. The Dallas Morning News, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Arizona Republic and the San Diego Union-Tribune are examples of editorial boards breaking tradition with their own history of supporting GOP nominees. Trump, in fact, has zero endorsements from major newspapers.

Now members of his party have lined up to announce they are no longer backing Trump after video footage from 2005 surfaced Friday. In it, Trump is heard bragging about forcibly groping and kissing women.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on Saturday said he wouldn’t vote for Trump and called for Trump to step aside and allow his running mate, Mike Pence, to be the GOP nominee.

“If he fails to do so, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton but will instead write-in my vote for Mike Pence,” Gardner said in a statement.

Democrats are ready to pounce on the no-win situation Trump has created for his fellow Republicans. Repudiating Trump at this stage, Democrats contend, is too little too late — Republicans are only concerned about the impact Trump will have on their congressional majorities.

We’ll dispense with piling on. If this is the uncrossable line that ignited a party-wide assessment of Trump’s character, we’ll take it an overdue campaign development. If Democrats want to frame this as Republicans jumping off the Titanic, at least the awakening happened in time to affect the outcome of the election.

The past two GOP nominees for president — U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and Mitt Romney — along with Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, former N.Y. Gov. George Pataki, Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and Utah Sen. Mike Lee have all called for Trump to quit.

Trump immediately struck a defiant tone, telling two newspapers he would never quit. And there’s some question as to whether the GOP can engage party rules for an emergency replacement if he does.

Nevertheless, the firestorm should at least inform those who have been on the fence about the presidential election. The evidence that Trump is unqualified or unfit for the presidency has been there all along. This is just the exclamation point that could convince moderate Republicans to break with their own tradition of voting for the GOP.

We join the chorus of voices urging Trump to step aside.


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While the Sentinel’s editors deserve kudos for finally – but belatedly – acknowledging that Donald Trump is (and always has been) entirely unfit to be our next President (“Step aside, Donald”), Republicans’ aooarent enthusiasm for defaulting to Mike Pence is just another bad joke.

Following last Tuesday’s Vice-Presidential “debate” – during which Pence alternatively lied about Trump’s stated policy positions (and his own video-taped pronouncements), or just changed the subject to avoid supporting or rejecting Trump’s positions – Trump proclaimed that his selection of Pence as his running-mate proved his own
“good judgment”.  Right!

What Trump conveniently failed to mention was that – after more qualified Republicans refused to hitch their political futures to Trump’s – the choice came down to two failed governors:  extremist Pence and blowhard Chris Christie (not to mention Sarah Palin).
Because Hoosiers were not about to re-elect him as their Governor, Pence accepted.

While Pence likes to be introduced as a “Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order”, his priorities make no mention of the Constitution he would be sworn to uphold.  Moreover, Pence rejects evolution and supports the teaching of creationism in public schools, and – of course – denies the existence of human-caused climate change.

In 2000, Pence parlayed his purported “born-again” religiosity into political success in Indiana, and remains a virulent homophobe – campaigning on the proposition that federal monies targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment should instead be invested in promoting “gay conversion therapy” (ala Michele Bachmann).

As a Congressman, Pence voted for a constitutional ban of same-sex marriages, against “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell”, against a ban on anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination, and against bills designed to protect endangered species, clean air, and safe drinking water.  In 2010, Pence embraced the “Tea Party” and sought to shut down the government over federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

As Governor, Pence opposed a needle-exchange program – thus making Indiana’s HIV crisis worse – and dismantled Indiana’s energy efficiency program at the behest of the Koch brothers (his most generous campaign contributors).  In 2015, Pence sought to bar Syrian refugees from Indiana; in 2016, he signed into Indiana law legislation that permitted anti-LGBT discrimination based on
claimed “religious” beliefs (costing Indianapolis $60 million), and a another bill imposing the most sweeping and misogynist abortion restrictions in the Nation – all of which have since been overturned or enjoined by federal courts.

The Sentinel’s editors should therefore conclude that Pence’s public record is just as “deplorable” as—and even more dangerous to women’s rights than—Trump’s “locker room language”.

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