Guest post by commentator Greg Mockeridge:
Just barely two weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump has managed, over the course of just one interview, to do much to vindicate the Never Trump movement. It was the Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly where the following exchange took place:
O’REILLY: Putin’s a killer.
TRUMP: We’ve got a lot of killers. Boy, you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?
O’REILLY: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.
TRUMP: Well, take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
O’REILLY: Mistakes are different than –
TRUMP: A lot of mistakes, okay, but a lot of people were killed. So a lot of killers around, believe me.
What we have here is President Trump engaging in moral equivalence between the United States and present day Russia and Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush. Whatever one may think regarding the Iraq war, comparing President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq with the murderous thuggery of Vladimir Putin is beyond revolting. Over at the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro pretty much nails it, so I don’t see the need to add much to what he says. But I would like to answer a question he poses:
“…will mainstream conservatives go silent on Trump no matter what he does? Has the halo effect of victory relieved Trump of any pressure to behave with even the most remote semblance of decency? Will Republicans go along with anything Trump says, lying for him like Pence, because they like his policy preferences?”
Well, from what I’ve seen, they (meaning mainstream conservatives) haven’t necessarily “gone silent”. In addition to Vice President Pence not only insulting any reasonably intellectually honest person’s intelligence, but impugning his own integrity, I just heard David Horowitz, of Front Page Magazine, on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox deny that it was moral equivalence in much the same way Pence did.
To his credit, Sen. Marco Rubio, who I am not at all fond of, did denounce Trump in a Twitter post.
Not only do I believe the conservative commentariat needs to denounce President Trump’s moral equivalence in the strongest terms, conservatives serving in his administration should demand the President retract that statement, in the form of a “clarification” perhaps, failing which will result in mass resignations. They need to make clear to President Trump that they refuse to serve in an administration that actively engages in undermining our moral standing in the world.
Unfortunately, I don’t see either happening, at least in any meaningful way, particularly with those in the administration. Whatever one can say about Donald Trump, he has good instincts in choosing yes men to surround himself with. In the case of his choice for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he picked another set of lips to plant on Putin’s backside.
Will we hold President Trump to at least the same standard we held President Obama to? Or will we, in exchange for some good SCOTUS picks and other sort of conservative policies, sacrifice our own principles?
I am afraid that the nomination of Donald Trump as its presidential candidate will be one of the darkest periods in GOP history. Perhaps its very darkest. I would like to be wrong. But its starting to look like I am right.