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.