IN APRIL 2011 I wrote an op-ed for the Union Leader that stated, in part, “Donald Trump is not a credible candidate for President and if the GOP allows him to hijack the primary process then they deserve exactly what they get.”
Note the date — 2011, nearly a decade ago. At the time Trump was coming to New Hampshire to dip his toes in the 2012 presidential waters. He was scared away by Mitt Romney and didn’t run.
Four years later, he came back and took advantage of a crowded field, a divided party, a tired nation, and a particularly poor Democratic nominee, to make his way to the White House. And we have lived with the consequences ever since.
If it was just the Republican party who carried the burden, it would be OK, but it’s not. An entire nation is suffering at the hands of his narcissistic incompetence.
When I warned against him in 2011, I wrote about the ludicrous suggestion that he could solve the trade problems with China, his reality TV show character, and his $50,000 campaign contributions to Rahm Emanuel. That all seems like small potatoes after watching him actually be President for 3.5 years.
For example, it never crossed my mind that he would be the leader of the free world during a global pandemic.
Trump is returning to the state this weekend for a reelection campaign rally and everything is different. He is an incumbent who is in trouble and he knows it.
As Granite Staters look back over his first administration they see immigrant children crowded in cages, an impeached president who tried to bribe a foreign leader to influence an American election, over 130,000 American lives lost (so far) to a pandemic that was grossly and selfishly mismanaged, racial unrest fanned by a president who retweets white power videos, and more Americans out of work in June than any June in U.S. history.
Since winning the 2016 election, Trump has revealed himself to be much worse than “just” a misogynist who believes he has the right to grope women at will. He is a dangerously weak and insecure wannabe despot desperate for the approval of tyrants.
He is a social media bully who is expert at diverting your attention with fabricated insults and by stirring racial and social unrest in order to distract from the very real damage of his pathetic ineptitude. He defends the Confederacy over the U.S. Constitution and wants you to believe that by violently dispersing peaceful protesters in order to have a photo taken in front of a church he is somehow defending religious freedom.
And through it all, most of my fellow Republicans have stood silent.
In 2016 there were at least some elected Republicans willing to stand up to Trump. Then-Senator Kelly Ayotte refused to support Trump on election day, saying, in part, “I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women…”
I was proud to stand with her and defend her at that moment for having the courage to do what was right regardless of the cost. There are few such elected Republicans left today, willing to put country over party and protect principle over the President.
Perhaps worst of all, we just recently learned that Donald Trump, while President of the United States of America, ignored warnings that Vladimir Putin was paying bounties for the killing of American soldiers in battle. He has known for over a year and done nothing. America’s sons and daughters, warriors in a volunteer army, defending our nation, were targeted by one of the world’s most dangerous dictators, and Donald Trump stood impotent and silent.
Even in that moment, there was little in the way of recrimination from Republicans.
Freedom’s greatest foe is not those from outside our country who would do us harm, but those within who stand silent in the face of such betrayal from our own president.
That is the Donald Trump who is coming to New Hampshire this weekend. That’s the Donald Trump who is asking you to wear his red hats, carry his signs, defend his racism, ignore his betrayals, and give him the extraordinary privilege of your vote.
When those that we send to the halls of Congress refuse to defend the constitution and preserve the republic, then we the people must do so ourselves at the ballot box. Donald Trump wants you to vote for his ugly, divisive, damaging vision of our country, but I know we are better than that.
I too am a mom and an American first, and I won’t do it.