At the beginning of his campaign, [Donald Trump] said that McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured. “I like people who weren’t captured.” True, McCain was shot down — on his 23rd bombing raid over North Vietnam. Then he endured five and a half years of torture. He refused early release, offered because his dad, Admiral McCain, was head of the Pacific Command.
Trump, meanwhile, received four student deferments. Many young men received deferments. But do they slam the service of McCain, of all people?
In 1997, Trump was talking with Howard Stern on the radio — about sleeping around, and the perils of doing so, given venereal disease. “I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world,” he said. “It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.” People joke on the radio. I’m all for joking. I’m also for, “Lighten up, Francis.” But this sort of talk in light of Trump’s condemnation of John McCain … it’s hard to take.
Then, overshadowing everything, there is the issue of character. Trump mocks the handicapped — physically mocks them — for the enjoyment of his audience. He insults women on the basis of their looks. He brags of the women he has bedded, including “seemingly very happily married” ones. He mocks the religions of others. (Distinctly un-American.) He implied that Ted Cruz’s father had a link to the Kennedy assassination. And on and on.
By nominating him, the Republican party has disfigured itself, morally. Democrats won’t like to hear this, but for all those years, I thought the Republican party had the high ground, morally. I feel that this ground has collapsed beneath me. That is one of the painful aspects of this moment.
I know exactly how he feels.
Make no mistake: Trump is the choice of most Republicans. In the later primaries, he comfortably out-polled his Republican rivals, combined.
A party that would elect a would-be-tyrant president is not my party. A party that wants the White House occupied by a vulgar conman, a man rank with hatred and ego and deceit and bluster, cannot be my party.