Republicans Denounce Trump But Opposition Stops There

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Core backers find Trump controversies only deepen their support.

Bruce Goacher, a repo man in a camouflage cap and oil-smudged jacket, praised Donald Trump as he drove his flatbed through Davenport on Tuesday on his way to seize a delinquent borrower’s car.

Republicans have been preaching xenophobia, fear and racism for years, and now one of the most skilled practitioners of that dark art is leading in the polls for the party’s nomination. Trump’s call for barring Muslims from entering the United States may have sparked an international uproar, but it only reinforced Goacher’s support for the Republican Party’s top contender for president. “He says let’s not bring nobody here until we get to the bottom of it,” Goacher said over the rumble of the tow truck’s engine. “I agree 100%.” Men like Goacher are the main reason Trump has sustained his lead in the Republican presidential race for six months. With less than two months to go before the first votes are cast, the GOP establishment is scared that Donald Trump might win their party’s nomination or, worse for them, go off and mount an independent candidacy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement later saying he rejected the remarks but added that the visit, set two weeks ago, would go ahead as planned and did not indicate support for Trump. “The prime minister rejects the recent comments by Donald Trump with regard to Muslims. There’s no reason not to be afraid,” she told the crowd. “When bad things happen it does cause anxiety and fear, but then you pull yourself together and, especially if you want to be a leader of a country, you say, ‘What are we going to do about it?

It’s not that the establishment is so bothered by his rhetoric of fear and hate so much as it’s in near panic that he could lose the presidency and take the GOP’s Senate majority and a big chunk of their House seats down with him. A lifelong resident of a down-and-out industrial section of this small city on the Mississippi River, Goacher once slaughtered hogs at the local Oscar Mayer plant. Priebus led a post-election “autopsy” of the GOP’s 2012 defeat that concluded the party needed to show Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans “we care about them, too.” Instead it went in the opposite direction, with Trump leading the charge. At least 37 mainly Israeli opposition legislators who make up almost a third of the 120-seat Knesset signed a letter to Netanyahu calling on him to cancel the meeting unless Trump withdraws his comments. From the driver’s seat of his tow truck, Goacher points to landmarks of his neighborhood’s decline –vacant lots and abandoned, boarded-up buildings. “That was a gas station.

Even with two Hispanic senators running for president, Republicans are stirring up the nativism that always lurks beneath the surface of American politics, using security in this age of terrorism as an excuse. Michal Rosin of the left-wing Meretz party, who initiated the letter, said that none of Netanyahu’s Likud party had agreed to sign although some had disagreed strongly with Trump’s words. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims “runs counter to what I, and others who have actually been in the Situation Room, making hard choices, know what we have to do.” Mrs. They’ve gone from Mitt Romney’s self-deportation idea to building a huge wall, setting a religious test for immigrants, locking out all Muslims and evicting 11 million undocumented workers.

Jeb Bush wants to admit only Christian refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war, and most Republican governors have said they don’t want any of them regardless of religion. Trump’s gift for showmanship – his stand-up-comedian riffs left his Davenport audience chuckling as often as cheering – can obscure his appeals to bigotry. Trump likes to boast that his daughter converted to Judaism and he “loves, loves, loves Israel,” but he was the only GOP candidate booed at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s meeting last week. But his skill at connecting with white, culturally conservative blue-collar voters in the nation’s heartland is extraordinary for a first-time candidate, and racial or religious bias is but one dimension of it. “They like the way he gets up and says it like it is – just like they talk to each other in the bar,” said Stu Spencer, who managed Ronald Reagan’s campaign to unseat President Carter in 1980. Trump, saying he was harming the nation’s ability to fight the rise of the Islamic State. “We have to enlist help from American Muslims, Muslims around the world, in defeating the radical jihadist and the hateful ideology,” she said. “Instead, Donald Trump is providing them with propaganda.

The party’s Jewish fat cats were disappointed that he wouldn’t call Jerusalem Israel’s undivided capital, questioned whether Israel really wants peace and said the rich Jews at the meeting wouldn’t support him because he’s so rich he can’t be bought. Playing to U.S. fears about radical Islam after the California gun rampage, Trump has shrugged off outrage at home and abroad over his remarks, made after last week’s mass shooting in California by two Muslims who police said had been radicalised. In the statement, Netanyahu repeated the need to fight militant Islam, saying that while guarding the rights of all its citizens “Israel is combating militant Islam, which attacks Muslims, Christians and Jews and threatens the entire world.” Left- and right-wing Israeli politicians alike, as well as Israeli Arab lawmakers, condemned Trump’s remarks and said he should be barred from visiting. He admires Trump’s “no-bull attitude.” “I think he’s writing all his own stuff, ‘cause it’s too off the wall for anybody to write something like that,” he said the day after seeing Trump at the Davenport Speedway, where Goacher used to race stock cars on the dirt track.

That call was echoed by Omer Bar-Lev of the main centre-left opposition party, the Zionist Union. “It is inappropriate for any Israeli official to meet (Trump) when he comes to visit,” Bar-Lev said. As for Trump’s agenda, Goacher likes it all. “He’s not going to deport everybody – just illegals,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with that.” Echoing Trump, he said some were “robbing and killing to survive.” Goacher mentioned a local company that charges “eight, ten grand” to replace a roof. “OK, there’s a boatload of Mexicans come by, and you can get it done for two or three grand. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a senior Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu confidant, described Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims as harmful from an Israeli and U.S. standpoint. “I recommend fighting terrorist and extremist Islam, but I would not declare a boycott of, ostracism against or war on Muslims in general,” Steinitz told Israel’s Army Radio. “We in the state of Israel have many Muslim citizens who are loyal.

That’s hurting the business person that’s here.” The resonance of Trump’s immigration rhetoric has disturbed many Republican leaders, who fear lasting damage to a party struggling to win favor among minorities. They drove out one speaker and are muscling his successor into giving in to their demands for a more rightward tilt, pointing to even greater governmental paralysis. Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University in Ames, said Trump was using his skills as a salesman to take advantage of the Republican rank-and-file. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) warned the RJC audience that extremist views, like those on abortion espoused by Cruz and Rubio, will drive voters away. There was no word whether Trump would also meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who was visiting Washington and scheduled to meet Obama on Wednesday.

Cruz’s response is that Democrats have won recent presidential elections because the GOP candidates were not conservative enough, and he presents himself as the most uncompromising hardliner in the field. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Trump’s comments disqualified him from being president and said other Republican candidates should disavow him “right now”. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman asks, “Why would the (GOP) establishment, which has spent years encouraging the base to indulge its fears and reject nuance, now expect the base to understand the difference between tough talk and actual effectiveness?” So what if the disasters Republicans predicted – the Ebola epidemic, hyperinflation, economic collapse, destruction of the nation’s health care system, and now Muslim terrorist attacks from Syrian refugees – failed to materialize, Krugman said. The prime ministers of France and Britain, Canada’s foreign minister, the United Nations and Muslims in Asian countries have also denounced Trump’s comments.

Over 150,000 Britons have signed an online petition to ban Trump from Britain, but finance minister George Osborne opposed this, saying it would better to engage Trump in democratic debate “about why he is profoundly wrong about the contribution of American Muslims and indeed British Muslims”. As a successful repo man, he sees some of himself in the former star of “The Apprentice.” When repossessing a car, it’s best to dodge contact with the owner, Goacher explained. As quick as he is to lie and smear opponents and critics, Trump is a shameless, thin-skinned bully who is even faster to take offense at any criticism, demand apologies, threaten legal action and talk about running as an independent if the GOP doesn’t “treat us fairly.” Since the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Republicans have stepped up their beating of the war drums and Muslim-bashing. But when it’s unavoidable, an innate ability to size people up quickly is essential. “I can look at somebody, in 30 seconds of talking to them, I can tell you whether they’re a con, they’re a rip-off, or they’re a pretty decent person.”

And they are just as extreme in rejecting even the most moderate gun control measures, including Obama’s call to “make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.” The extremism of the NRA is an old story made scarier by recent mass shootings, but it is the Trump candidacy, and his remarkable appeal to the GOP base, that should scare the pants off the GOP leadership – and Jewish Republican activists in particular. American Jews, who understand that their own security depends on the democratic pluralism this country has always embodied, understand this more than most, which is why a Trump nomination is all but certain to produce a record low Jewish vote for Republicans next November. Even if Trump isn’t the nominee, the damage he is doing to GOP Jewish outreach efforts – compounded by a Republican establishment that set the stage for his rise – will be deep and long lasting. Perhaps it is because they’ve read the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller inscribed at the entrance to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: “First they came for the Socialists….”

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