First, Donald J. Trump insulted the president by claiming he wasn’t a true American. And Republicans did not speak up because they wanted the president to fail.
And then he attacked hard-working Mexican immigrants, and they did not speak out because so few Mexican-Americans vote for them. Then he demonized Muslims, and they did not denounce him because they generally agreed with him and it played well with their base.
And he demeaned a prisoner of war and they cringed but let it slide. And he mocked a New York Times reporter who has a disability, and they could not care less because the individual is, after all, a New York Times reporter. And he called women fat and disgusting, and they felt a little sheepish, but only if their wives and daughters seemed offended or had weight issues.
He cozied up to a corrupt and murderous dictator and they did not shun him because they could smell victory. And he ridiculed a Gold Star mother and they felt a little bad, but got over it because winning is everything.
And now, after demeaning a beauty pageant winner, Trump was caught on video, at age 59, laughing and bragging in 2005 with Billy Bush, a sycophantic enabler who is the nephew and cousin of presidents, about sexually assaulting women.
Finally, some people who call themselves leaders in what is left of the Republican Party are saying enough is enough, though not nearly enough of them.
Many of the men in high office who righteously denounce him today preface their condemnation by saying, “As the father of daughters,” as if one must be a parent to grasp the ugly and corrosive nature of Trump’s words and demeanor.
The video is property of NBC, and it, too, did not speak up, because, shamefully, the media conglomerate felt compelled to protect Trump and Bush, its unctuous on-air personality. Some brave soul leaked the tape which found its way to The Washington Post, which did stand up by reporting it, which is what any honest news organization would do.
The video makes clear what Trump’s supporters have denied for months, with willful blindness: Trump is unfit to be president. Any elected or party leader who will not repudiate him now must accept his words as their own.
That includes Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, Reps. Tom McClintock, Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa, and Kevin McCarthy, California Republican Party chief Jim Brulte, and others who have stood by him.
In his pathetic apology, Trump claimed that although he gleefully recounted on the tape that he pursued a married woman while his third wife was pregnant, that’s not who he is. It’s exactly he who he is. When he made those remarks, he was four years older than Barack Obama is now.
Trump’s attempt to shift blame to his former friend, Bill Clinton, shows he is incapable of introspection or reflection. Nor is it a distraction, as he claimed. It goes to the heart of who the Republican nominee is: a predator and a bully who seeks to dominate people whom he views as lesser and weaker.
Trump is a damaged and deeply flawed human being who craves power, so much so that he vowed Saturday to never drop out of the race. It would have been nice if party leaders had respected the country enough to have repudiated Trump before Oct. 8, a month before election day. But ballots are printed and voting has begun. It appears to be too late.
Trump has come for the Republican Party, finally, and the party can do nothing but succumb.