Graham: It's Time For Republicans to Start Un-Endorsing Trump

Guy Benson
|
Posted: Jun 07, 2016 4:22 PM
Graham: It's Time For Republicans to Start Un-Endorsing Trump

This is the guy who endorsed Ted Cruz -- a man he truly loathes -- in a failed effort to stop Trump, then begrudgingly started urging Republicans to rally around the nominee. But after that nominee's latest bout of racial demagoguery and the ensuing rift within the GOP, Lindsey Graham sounds like he's permanently off the Trump train:

No prominent elected Republican came to Mr. Trump’s defense unreservedly. And others found themselves wondering aloud what it would take — what Mr. Trump would have to say or do — for Republicans who have endorsed him to start jumping ship. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another former primary rival of Mr. Trump’s, urged Republicans who have backed Mr. Trump to rescind their endorsements, citing the remarks about Judge Curiel and Mr. Trump’s expression of doubt on Sunday that a Muslim judge could remain neutral in the same lawsuit, given Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim noncitizens entering the country. “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Mr. Graham said. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it,” he added. “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Allahpundit asks a good question: Why now? This is who Trump is. He's been broadcasting it, clear as day, to anyone who will listen for the past year (and for decades, really). He's insulted the physical appearances of a female rival and another competitor's wife.  He's baselessly hinted that Ted Cruz's father helped assassinate JFK. He's ridiculed a disabled reporter. He's demeaned John McCain's Vietnam ordeal, and by extension, all American prisoners of war. He's made up stories about Muslims, upon whom he's proposed a blanket temporary US entry ban for non-citizens. The fact that he's flagrantly race-baiting the Trump University fraud case judge is in no way a aberration -- especially since he's been doing so, slightly more subtlely, for months. Many high-profile Republicans who've thrown in their lot with Trump are basically, or even straightforwardly, making the argument that he's the lesser of two evils compared to Hillary Clinton. This ugly episode doesn't really alter that calculus. In fact, Paul Ryan is explicitly stating that Trump's purely racial attacks on Judge Curiel represent the literal textbook definition of racism (echoing Sen. Ben Sasse, one of several GOP Senators who have publicly stated that they can't support their party's standard-bearer), while standing by his tepid endorsement because, hey, at least Trump isn't Hillary:

So that's the playbook you're likely to witness from many Republican candidates and office-holders as various Trumpian controversies flare up over the next five months: Specific denunciations as necessary without throwing the candidate overboard, replete with borderline-begging exhortations to stay "on message," or whatever. Maybe you'll see a handful of un-endorsements roll in, but the party will mostly stick together. That's how parties operate, especially in the US system where a 'no confidence' votes and leadership revolts aren't typically in the offing. And you'll always have the Trump loyalist wing of the GOP, which will defend literally anything the man does or says, no matter how ridiculous they sound. Here's Chris Christie first declining to comment on the latest "kerfuffle" as he calls it (friendly reminder: his presidential campaign slogan was "telling it like it is), before finally bailing out the boss. And why not? His political career is over in New Jersey; a spot in a Trump administration is his best shot at this point, and sticking up for Trump during this firestorm might even earn him some extra brownie points in the Veepstakes over Newt Gingrich, who has betrayed Mister Trump by speaking his mind:

This controversy will blow over -- Trump is backtracking further as I write this post -- but its residue will linger. Perhaps of greater lasting concern for Trump fans is this story, which details how Trump's bare-bones campaign is barely functional in the way it needs to be to defeat the Democratic machine in the fall:

UPDATE - Here's your first un-unendorsement, from vulnerable Illinois Senator Mark Kirk.