Trump shows us who he is

Trump shows us who he is

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s acceptance of the Republican nomination represents a stunning moment in American political history, the outsider who seized the Republican Party following a campaign that broke every rule of politics. 

Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday capped a Republican convention of dissonance, discord and divisiveness, from the plagiarism debacle of his wife’s speech to the intraparty strife that exploded when his former biggest rival Ted Cruz declined to endorse him on stage, to the messages of anger and hate coming from almost every speaker on the stage. In the process, the Trump campaign utterly failed to expand its appeal beyond the nominee’s faithful supporters. 

What has emerged from this four-day Republican convention is what was known before it started: Donald Trump is not the kind of man who should be president of the US. His character, temperament, impulsiveness and lack of intellect all disqualify him.

He is one of the most dangerous major candidates for US president in memory. He is a racist, sexist, demagogue, narcissist and a bully. He lies constantly and so fluently that it’s hard to keep up. He has mocked the disabled and has regularly incited or justified violence among his supporters. 

He has had plenty of time to prove he can do the job. But he hasn’t. He has not become more responsible or more sober, more considered or more informed or more careful.

Trump has proven to be too lazy to do his homework. He didn’t know much about policy when the campaign started and he hasn’t made any obvious effort to rectify that. The latest and most damaging example is his recent interview in which he said he would not automatically defend NATO countries against attack from Russia unless those countries have paid their bills to the alliance. NATO has long served as a pillar of Western unity, so that approach flies in the face of one of NATO’s bedrock principles, Article 5, which requires NATO states to come to the aid of a fellow member under assault. Ironically, the first time NATO invoked Article 5 was after the 2001 attacks on the US.

This is a break not just with seven decades of Republican foreign policy but also with a core American commitment that has kept the peace since 1945. It is one of the most reckless statements made by a presidential candidate in modern times.

But this is a pattern for Trump who definitely has not put in the time to develop a deep understanding of the issues he might face as president.
The simple fact of it is that the US presidency is a powerful job where mistakes can kill millions, and whoever holds it needs to take that power seriously and wield it responsibly. Trump has had ample opportunity to demonstrate his sense of seriousness and responsibility. But time and time again he has failed.

All that said, the convention will almost certainly help Trump as he hunts for an upset in the fall. If nothing else, the fanfare of officially bestowing the party’s nomination on him will further legitimize his candidacy for voters. It’s possible he will emerge from the convention with a bump in the polls and a semblance of party unity thanks to the fierce attacks on Hillary Clinton at the convention. Opposition to her was the only glue holding together the Republican Party. But even if Trump does now have a poll lead, it will not last long. Clinton is sure to return the favor next week at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. 

It is said that the benefit of America’s long presidential campaigns is that they offer the candidates time to show the public who they really are. Trump has shown who he really is and it is now time for the American people to decide if he is a person who is fit to be president of the US.