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Profiles in Cowardice: In Their Own Words

Jun 202016
 
 By , June 20, 2016

Republican leaders on Donald Trump: Profile in cowardice, not courage

In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follow his conscience — the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men — each man must decide for himself the course he will follow.

John Kennedy, Profiles In Courage.

 

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan

“This party does not prey on people’s prejudices.”

paul ryan, donald trump“This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And, more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”

“Nobody should say such things, in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”

“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”

“I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives. That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall. It’s no secret that he and I have our differences. I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”

“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there.”

“I’ll be voting for @realDonaldTrump this fall. I’m confident he will help turn the House GOP’s agenda into laws.”

“I completely disagree with the thinking behind that. And so, he clearly says and does things I don’t agree with, and I’ve had to speak up on time to time when that has occurred, and I’ll continue to do that if it’s necessary. I hope it’s not.”

“The textbook definition of a racist comment.”

“I am not going to spend my time commenting about the ups and downs and the in-betweens of comments.”

 

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)

The party will drop Trump “like a hot rock” if he wins the nomination.

“Let me make it clear: Senate Republicans condemn David Duke, the KKK and racism. That is not the view of Republicans that have been elected to the United States Senate… Beyond what I just said, I’m going to continue to avoid weighing in on the presidential contest at this point.”

“I’m not going to be commenting on the presidential candidate today.”

“I have committed to supporting the nominee chosen by Republican voters, and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee, is now on the verge of clinching that nomination.”

Banning Muslims “is a bad and should not be pursued.”

“I think he’d have a much better chance of winning if he would quit making so many unfortunate public utterances and stick to the script.”

“Most Muslim Americans are patriotic. There are great sources for potential radicals inside our country and if you ban all Muslims from coming into the United States, the King of Jordan who is a great ally of ours, wouldn’t be able to come to the United States.”

“Some people have said our nominee is too controversial and that will cause you problems. But by the way, the Democratic nominee is pretty controversial, too.”

 

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

“I will support Mr. Trump but not endorse.”

 

Representative Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho)

Said he would support Mr. Trump despite his “not knowing much about the Constitution or politics.”

 

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

“I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving their country.”

“Back in the Middle Ages, I was known as the maverick”

Headlines: John McCain bows out of Republican convention — says he won’t attend.

“You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party, I think it would be foolish to ignore them.”

“Obama is ‘directly responsible’ for Orlando because he pulled troops from Iraq, bungled Syria.”

“I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible.”

 

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)

“When I hear people say never, I say, ‘Look, chill.’”

“I continue to be discouraged by the direction of the campaign and comments that are made”

 

Representative Pete King (R-Ny)

“A guy with no knowledge of what’s going on.”

“Well first of all, I made it clear that I would support the nominee of the party, so I’m supporting him as the nominee, and I will vote for him. However, I’ve also said that I will not be able to campaign for him or be part of his campaign effort unless he somehow consolidates or gives some coherence to his statements.”

“I want to stay active in the Republican Party as we go forward. If I’m going to do that, I have an obligation to support the nominee of the party, but also an obligation not to be defending policies that I don’t agree with. But I am a Republican. I believe in the two-party system. And again this is a close call, but I feel to stay within the party and to have a role to play and to try to frame the policies, I have to endorse the nominee of the party, but not with enthusiasm and, as I’ve said, I will not campaign or be involved in the campaign unless some of his key positions, particularly on national and homeland security, change.”

 

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fld)

“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

“We cannot be a party who nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

“Most countries around the world that are failures are because they deposit their hopes in a person, a strong leader who comes forward and says ‘Put me in power. And I will make the country better. That’s exactly what he’s doing. The rhetoric reminds me of third-world strongmen.”

I hope we remain that conservative movement that appeals to our hopes and our dreams and the belief that America will always be better in its future than it’s been in its story history.

“I still at this moment continue to intend to support the Republican nominee. But it’s getting harder every day.”

“We Are Now A Nation Where People Hate Each Other”

“I’ve always said I’m going to support the Republican nominee.”

 

Governor Rick Perry (R-Tx)

“Let no one be mistaken — Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”

“He is not a perfect man, but what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people, and he will listen to them.”

 

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La)

“egomaniac with no principles” and “a madman who must be stopped.”

“Like a kid in a superhero costume, Trump compares himself to Ronald Reagan, wearing the Gipper’s slogan on his forehead as if he just thought of it. But whereas Reagan was a terrible entertainer and a great statesman, Trump is a great entertainer who would be a terrible statesman.”

“I do not pretend Donald Trump is the Reaganesque leader we so desperately need, but he is certainly the better of two bad choices.”

 

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

“I think he could change the electoral map in ways we haven’t seen before. This disrupts the usual Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal paradigm, and I think we don’t know how this will all play out. I think it will be OK.”

“We can’t have a nominee be an albatross around the down-ballot races. That’s a concern of mine.”

“I just don’t have enough time to provide running commentary for everything a candidate running for president says.”

“I’m glad he’s coming [to Texas]. Unfortunately my schedule will not allow me to attend.”

 

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

“Certainly, as I travel the state extensively, I hear a lot of support because what Donald Trump is saying resonates with an awful lot of people when it comes to the incompetence of Washington, D.C… From what I’ve heard, Trump is running very strong up in the Northwest [part of Wisconsin]… that should also help me a bit, too.”

“Well to me endorsement is a big embrace. It basically shows that I pretty well agree with an individual on almost everything. That’s not necessarily be the case with our nominee, so I’ll certainly be an independent voice where I disagree with a particular nominee. I’ll voice it, whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or anybody else.”

 

Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo)

“I don’t make any comments on the presidential candidates… If you’ve got an issue you want to talk to me about that I’m working on, I’m happy to talk about it.”

Asked by a reporter if he had an opinion about Trump, he declared, “Not that I am sharing.”

 

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah)

“Donald Trump does not represent Republican ideals; he is our Mussolini… Donald Trump’s approach is, ‘I am just going to do it.”

“Mr. Trump wasn’t my first choice, but we must move forward and unite to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

 

Gov. Nikki R. Haley (R-SC)

“During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices… We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”

“I have great respect for the will of the people, and as I have always said, I will support the Republican nominee for president.”

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Jerry Hirsch

Jerry Hirsch is professor emeritus of history at Truman State University in Kirksville, where he pursues research on American cultural history. He wrote "Portrait of America: The Federal Writers’ Project and American Culture" (2003). Jerry left Chicago after high school and hasn’t been back except to visit. Nevertheless he has remained a lifelong suffering Cubs fan. Ever optimistic, he thinks the time of suffering has ended and that he and his Cubs will soon enter the promised land.

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