The Republican Party has always prided itself on being a “big tent,” but a large portion of MAGA world seems determined to make that tent as small as possible. Much of the Left also seems determined to push away people who do not totally reject Donald Trump and everything he does. For way too many people on both sides, Trump is an “all or nothing” proposition. You must totally support him or totally oppose him, with no room for nuance or independent thought. But here is the reality: There are many more shades of gray in life and in politics than we care to admit.
One thing that both liberals and #NeverTrump conservatives often fail to understand is that support for Donald Trump as a political figure does not mean support for everything he says and does, or even that we like him as a person. The thing that MAGA world does not understand is that criticism of some of Trump’s words and actions does not mean we are a “never Trumper” or Deep State. (Or for some of the less mature people, that we are a traitor, a faggot or a cuck.)
And this brings me to an excellent commentary by Jonah Goldberg: President Trump is not a man of good character. Ten years ago, not one single conservative would have disagreed with this statement, which shows just how much conservatives are willing to compromise in order to “win.” Trump has lived a life of sexual immorality, has had morally and ethically questionable business dealings, and is immature, impulsive, egotistical, crass and rude. He viciously attacks far too often. There is no filter between his brain and his mouth or keyboard, which causes him far more problems than necessary.
Would it be better to have a President of stronger moral character? Of course. Should Trump face a primary challenge? Nope. And please spare me the childish and cowardly counter argument of “Democrat X would be worse!” The idea that every single argument about Trump’s character has to be a binary choice is absurd. Grow up.
Fellow conservatives, this is not that difficult. We can acknowledge Trump’s character flaws, call on him to be better, and rebuke “christian” leaders who excuse his immoral behavior while at the same time supporting Trump politically because he has advanced our policy agenda. A lifelong New York City liberal has arguably been more conservative (and accomplished more) than Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, or George W. Bush. Trump has certainly been more conservative (and more aggressive in implementing a conservative agenda) than John McCain or Mitt Romney would have been.
All I am asking for is some intellectual honesty and adherence to basic conservative principles, especially for Christians tempted to look away from (or worse, excuse) Trump’s personal character. We’re doing far more damage to the conservative movement in the long run than if we could recognize that there are good and bad things about the President.