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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Has Trump Finally Crossed the Line? (We Can Only Hope)

Throughout his campaign for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed the boundaries in terms of outrageous statements, from calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, to declaring that John McCain is not a war hero, and that Fox's Megyn Kelly might be menstruating. And many political conservatives have been appalled at his rhetoric. For instance, when several GOP presidential candidates "tried to outbid each other in being tough on Syrian refugees," Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer noted that "this descent into xenophobia was led, as usual, by Donald Trump" ("The Syrian immigration cul-de-sac"). And Krauthammer's conservative partner in crime, George Will, recently referred to one of Trump's speeches as "coarse, vulgar and nasty" ("After Paris, we should look to Chris Christie")

Unfortunately, many in the GOP have remained far too silent concerning Trump's inflammatory rhetoric and policy positions. We can only hope that when Trump stated that the U.S. should ban Muslims from entering the United States, he finally crossed a line that will bring most political conservatives out of the woodwork. Early evidence suggests that it has. Here is a sampling of reaction from prominent Republicans to Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. (in alphabetical order -- hopefully):

Donald Trump is unhinged. His "policy" proposals are not serious.
-- Jeb Bush

I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.
-- Dick Cheney

This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they're talking about. We do not need to endorse that type of activity, nor should we.
-- Chris Christie

That does not reflect serious thought. Just when you think he can’t stoop lower, he does.
-- Jeff Flake, GOP Senator, AZ

@Realdonaldtrump has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric. He’s putting at risk the lives of interpreters, American supporters, diplomats, & the troops in the region by making these bigoted comments. Every candidate for president needs to do the right thing & condemn @Realdonaldtrump's statement.
-- Lindsey Graham

There are going to be newspapers throughout the world that are going to read 'Republican front-runner doesn't want Muslims to visit America.' It will make it easier for Democrats to portray the GOP as hostile to any minority. Ultimately, I think Donald Trump is the best asset Hillary Clinton has.
-- Doug Heye, GOP strategist and former adviser to the Iowa Republican Party

-- Jennifer Horn, Chair, New Hampshire GOP

This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States.
-- John Kasich

It's just foolishness. It's been a long series of statements like this that have been just foolish.
-- John McCain

As a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump’s bad idea and rhetoric sends a shiver down my spine. American exceptionalism means always defending our inalienable rights, not attacking them when it’s politically convenient.
-- Matt Moore, Chair, South Carolina GOP

Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty will denounce the reckless, demogogic [sic] @realDonaldTrump plan for Muslims.
-- Russell Moore, Evangelical leader

We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.
-- Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee Chairman

I disagree with Donald Trump's latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.
-- Marco Rubio

This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly it’s not what this country stands for.
-- Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Somebody needs come up and remind them what this nation is and what we're about and how we dream, the way we were founded, and what our Constitution is. He's not representing any of that. He's representing the worst, darkest part of all that is America.
-- Shephard Smith, Fox News commentator

Note: Although most Democrats are praying that he doesn't win the nomination, I'm fairly certain the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, is hoping he does because Trump's negative favorability rating is so high for the population as a whole (an SNL skit this past weekend also suggested as much). I suppose an even more attractive scenario for Democrats is that Trump doesn't win the nomination, blames the Republican establishment, and then runs as an independent.

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