Bankole: Trump evasives fuel doubts
In 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans launched an “Unfit for Command” campaign that successfully derailed then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s presidential aspirations by repeatedly questioning his Vietnam War record.
In 2016, it seems Hillary Clinton and the Democrats don’t need a full-throttle swift-boating exercise to stop Donald Trump. He has already given them all the take-down tools they need.
The campaign to prevent Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, from stepping into the White House should be a matter of letting the real danger in Trump glare like the salient summer sun.
It should be a campaign to expose the ignorance and unparalleled bigotry of a candidate who has basically turned the road to the White House into a morbid reality show.
It is no longer an understatement that Trump tells as many lies as he can on the campaign trail, perhaps believing his audience would not notice. When Politico subjected Trump to its fact-checking process, the magazine found he makes either outright falsehoods or misstatements every five minutes he opens his mouth.
Yet, this is the candidate who will accept the Republican nomination at its convention in Cleveland later this month. This is a candidate who knows little or nothing about the inner workings of the federal government, and whose campaign has basically said his vice president will have to do much of the heavy lifting as de facto president if he is elected. Trump, in essence, will play the role of a board chairman while his vice president serves as chief executive officer.
Some voters are not buying into Trump's hype. Last week, 64 percent of registered voters surveyed in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll said Trump was unqualified to be president.
What was surprising was the response by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when ABC News on June 26 asked whether Trump had the requisite credentials to be become president, he dodged the question. “I leave it up to the American people to decide,” he opined.
The United States has always presented itself as a paragon of democracy leading the call among nations to uphold the sanctity of the rule of law including fierce independence of the judiciary and press freedom. The State Department even keeps a list of countries it believes are in violation of these safeguards of democracy.
Ironically Trump has frowned upon press freedom by revoking the credentials of media outlets he deems critical of his campaign and has promised to push libel laws to make it easier to sue the media. He also has questioned the judgment of a federal judge based on the judge’s heritage which tramples on judicial independence.
His call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims coming to the United States is antithetical to the values of religious freedom that the United States promotes around the world.
Trump has been evasive about providing any comprehensive plan on foreign relations except to say that he will make America great again. His inability to articulate how the United States will engage with the rest of the world, whether allies or foes, and in dealing with terror groups like ISIS is worrisome.
What is even more troubling is that in the midst of the Brexit controversy, Trump chose to go to Scotland to promote his own golf business instead of giving a policy prescription in Europe, affording everyone a foretaste of what a Trump presidency will look like.
Granted, Trump has the constitutional right to run for president but he has left many loopholes and unexplained positions about making America great again.
Bankole Thompson is the host of “Redline with Bankole Thompson” on Super Station 910 AM Wednesdays and Fridays. His column appears Mondays and Thursdays.