Monday, August 1, 2016

McCain denounces Trump's comments on the parents of Captain Khan

Sen. John McCain's denunciation is deeply personal as one might guess given McCain's service record. Here's a sample from the NY Times article.

In a remarkable and lengthy rebuke of his party’s nominee, Senator John McCain sharply criticized Donald J. Trump’s comments about the family of a fallen Muslim Army captain, saying, “While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”

Mr. McCain, a war hero whose service and capture in Vietnam was also once derided by Mr. Trump, had stayed largely silent over the weekend as Mr. Trump’s feud with the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan brewed, waiting until Monday morning to release a prepared statement.

“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents,” he wrote of the parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan. “He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates.”

We should welcome such denunciations, especially from Republicans, because such statements show some awakening to the true character of the Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump. However, the denunciations are not enough.

What is unsaid is important, as Steve Benen (MSNBC/Maddowblog) notes.

It all sounds quite encouraging, right up until one notices what’s missing: the part in which McCain withdraws his support for Trump’s candidacy. It’s the part that doesn’t exist.

This has been a problem for Republicans for many months. Every time Trump takes his campaign in an indefensible direction, some GOP leaders will publicly register their dissatisfaction. This, in turn, leads to the inevitable question of whether those Republicans still want Trump to be elected president of the United States.

The answer is always the same: Yes. Sometimes it’s explicit (“Trump is the best available choice”) and sometimes it’s implicit (“I will support my party’s nominee”), but either way, the real #NeverTrump contingent among congressional Republicans remains quite small.

And at least for now, John McCain isn’t joining.

Will McCain vote for Trump? He has not said he will not. McCain has merely said that Trump's "remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates.” Really? Ryan and McConnell so far have been silent. Trump crushed his competitors during the primary, so the Republican party, as represented by the Republican voters, must like what he has to say. They selected Trump in spite of, or more correctly I think, because of his crazy rants.

There is a fundamental dissonance in the Republicans naming Trump as their candidate, then disavowing his publicly stated convictions, and yet voting for him. McCain is caught squarely in the middle of that muddle.

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