John Nichols (The Nation) has been on a campaign to push Republican leaders and candidates to publicly and clearly state their opposition to Donald Trump. Moreover, Nichols says they must reverse course and commit to opposing Trump, not merely stating weak criticisms of the most recent outrageous remarks.
There is one Congressman who is doing all that and doing it forcefully in the national media - Congressman Reid Ribble from Wisconsin. Here is some of Ribble's verbal bashing of Trump (snippets from Nichol's article).
The worst of the [Republicans criticizing Trump], House Speaker Paul Ryan, says Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from the United States is “not conservatism” and “not what this party stands for,” and then says that, of course, “I’m going to support whoever the Republican nominee is…” Translation, he will call out Trump, collect compliments for raising concerns, and then back Trump.
Ribble is having none of that.
Wisconsin Republican Reid Ribble, who represents a historically competitive district just north of Ryan’s, is saying absolutely and unapologetically that he does not back Trump—and, more importantly, that he will not back Trump.
“I am not obligated to support a bad candidate from any party,” says Ribble. “I will not support Donald Trump for president of the United States, no matter what the circumstances.”
Here are more of Ribble's comments.
In September, he ripped on Trump in a conversation with USA Today, saying, “It’s not politics what he’s doing, it’s a carnival. It would be one thing if he was a serious policy person, but he’s not.”
“You can’t be calling women bimbos, we can’t just be kicking sand in the sandbox saying, ‘You’re dumb’ and ‘You’re a loser,’” the congressman added. “We actually need a grown-up, not a three-year-old in the White House.”
Ribble pulls no punches, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he objects to Trump’s determination “to be as inflammatory as possible, which appeals to the worst parts of who we are as people. It appeals to our fears. It appeals to our racism. It appeals to all the negative things about us.”
Nichols winds up.
This is the discussion that has to be had with the party base. Ribble is ready to engage in it. And he is ready to see it through to the only logical conclusion: declaring that he will not back Trump. Only by doing this will Republicans who object to Trump be taken seriously. And only if Republicans who object to Trump are taken seriously will those objections be seen as anything more than the empty rhetoric of political careerists whose principles will always be sacrificed to self-interest and partisanship.
The irony here is that the angry, disaffected voters who back Trump may be more sensitive to that "empty rhetoric" than are the "political careerists whose principles will always be sacrificed to self-interest and partisanship."