Republicans Underreact or Ignore the Immoral Things Donald Trump Has Done
This willful blindness reveals their current immorality. Even Trump's most egregious acts don't elicit outrage from the party.
Sep 29, 2020Updated 9 months ago
He wished Ghislaine Maxwell well. Trump's supporters did not decry his support of an alleged sex trafficker. Maxwell is accused of selecting and grooming girls as young as 14 for Jeffrey Epstein.
During a press briefing about the coronavirus in July, Trump wished Ghislaine Maxwell "well." A journalist asked him about the news that Maxwell, a French socialite and former partner of the late Jeffrey Epstein, had been charged with child sex trafficking.
“I haven't really been following it too much,” he said at the time. “I just wish her well, frankly.”
Maxwell is now being held without bail in New York City for charges of perjury and the trafficking of minors. It is alleged that she helped find and groom girls as young as 14 for Epstein and his cronies. She could serve as much as 35 years in jail if found guilty.
Trump traveled in the same circles as both Maxwell and Epstein in Palm Beach, Florida and New York City. His association with them at all could be suspicious, but he has instead reaffirmed his friendship with the pair.
In an interview with Axios later in the summer, Trump doubled down on his comments. “She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well," he said, adding, "I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.”
What's stranger than wishing an alleged child sex trafficker well is the total silence on this issue from fellow Republicans. Neither leaders in the party nor average voters seem troubled by his unwavering support for the accused criminal.
Despite mounting rape allegations against Trump himself, his supporters refuse to acknowledge this. Even after more than two dozen women came forward, alleging crimes ranging from groping to rape—Republicans refuse to believe the victims, instead choosing to continue to support the president.
More than two dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1970s.
The accusations range from sexual harassment to rape and date all the way back to the start of his career. The latest alleged victim came forward as recently as September 2020, a former model who accused Trump of groping her outside a bathroom in 1997.
"He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And that's when the grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything," she told the Guardian.
Trump has categorically denied all of the allegations made against him. Concerning this most recent case, his lawyer called the story "totally false." "We will consider every legal means available to hold The Guardian accountable for its malicious publication of this unsubstantiated story," she said.
Republican leadership has alternately ignored and justified Trump in these situations. First, for the ignoring: Republican representatives' refrain of "I haven't read that article" or "I haven't heard of that allegation" have become commonplace.
Others have openly supported Trump. After columnist Jean E. Carroll accused Trump of rape, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said “Quite honestly, as somebody who had a front-row seat to the Kavanaugh hearings, we’ve seen allegations that were false...We’ll let the facts go where they are, but I take [Trump’s] statement at face value.”
“The accuser and the accused need to be treated with respect and they each need to be afforded due process. Just because you’re accused of something in America doesn’t mean you’re guilty," another Republican senator said at the time.
Trump supported ICE's policy to put immigrant children in cages. And many in the party stood by him. Even the gross mistreatment of children as young as toddlers was not enough for Republicans to turn against Trump.
In 2018, President Trump instituted a "zero-tolerance" policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Migrants and asylum seekers, many of them fleeing violence in South and Central America, were all to be referred directly to the Department of Justice for prosecution. If those adults were traveling with children, the kids were sent to separate holding facilities, often hundreds of miles away.
Some of the holding facilities for children resemble cages, and children as young as toddlers were placed there to await their parents' fate. While the facilities were constructed and first used under the Obama-Biden administration, there was no "zero tolerance policy" in effect.
Under Obama, children could wait for their parents' judicial process while living with a relative or friend of the family. Under Trump, that was no longer possible.
Several thousand children passed through these detention facilities during Trump's term. And the conditions described by those who visited them were often sparse and unhealthy.
Observers described children on bare floors under foil blankets. Access to basic hygiene supplies and medical attention was often limited or non-existent.
A rare few Republicans, such as former first lady Laura Bush, spoke out against the policy. Bush compared the facilities to the Japanese internment camps used during World War II.
Many, however, said they supported the policy. “You don’t ever want to be separating families, but at least the president focused attention on all the people crossing the border illegally" one Trump supporter in Texas told the New York Times.
“It hurts my heart to see it, but the culpable ones are the parents who subject their children to crossing the border, or who send them by themselves,” a Trump campaigner said.
The dissonance from the Republican party paled in comparison to the overwhelming support, however reluctant, from the majority of the party.
He disrespected veterans and their families. Trump spoke ill both of John McCain and of the Khan family. In belittling their sacrifices, Trump dishonored all veterans—despite never having served in the armed forces himself.
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
At various times throughout his campaign and first term, Trump disrespected the sacrifices made by both veterans and their families.
In 2015, during the presidential campaign, Trump enraged many by disparaging the record of veteran Senator John McCain. McCain served in the Vietnam war and was captured as a prisoner of war.
He would spend nearly six years as a prisoner in North Vietnam, much of it in solitary confinement. In that time he was tortured and frequently left in filthy conditions.
Trump summed up McCain's service by saying: "I like people who weren't captured." The comment drew ire from thousands of Americans, both in and out of the service.
Trump, who never served in the armed forces, again denigrated a veteran family. After the parents of a slain Muslim solider spoke out against Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S., Trump made a crack at them on television.
"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me," he said to ABC News.
While both comments drew ire from Republicans at the time, they have continued to support Trump in spite of his long record of disrespect.
Trump admitted to helping Mohammed bin Salman in death of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After the journalist's murder, Trump helped cover up for the Saudi prince. Trump even bragged about saving his "ass."
Hany Musallam / Shutterstock.com
Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and managing editor of Al Arab News, went into the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.
Khashoggi never made it out of the Embassy alive. His body was later discovered to have been dismembered.
The journalist had often written critically of the Saudi government and particularly about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as by his initials MBS. Fearing for his life, he left Saudi Arabia and was living in the U.S. at the time of his death. He had gone to the embassy only to obtain paperwork in order to marry his fiancée, who was doing her PhD in Istanbul at the time.
Worldwide criticism of MBS and Saudi Arabia was swift, except for people like Donald Trump. The U.S. president told journalist Bob Woodward for his latest book, titled 'Rage,' that he "saved [MBS'] ass" from the ire of Congress and others.
Trump and other senior officials have repeatedly said they believed MBS when the prince said he did not have Khashoggi killed, despite the U.S. intelligence community indicating otherwise.
Congress wanted to stop supporting Saudi Arabia in its horrific war against Yemen and to block weapons sales to Saudi government. However, the Trump administration circumvented Congress to involve MBS in a deal to sell $8.1 billion worth of weapons within months of Khashoggi's murder.
He has evaded paying even low taxes for years. Trump's tax returns show that the president has only paid a few hundred dollars per year in taxes for the past several years. Many experts have suggested that he's either a terrible businessman—or he's committed serious tax fraud.
Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com
Donald Trump claimed he "pre paid" millions of dollars in federal income tax, however a New York Times investigation showed the president only paid $750 per year for the year before and his first in the White House.
Records show he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, according to NYT's look at IRS paperwork. He got away with this by reporting heavy business losses in those years.
The president ran his campaign on his reputation as a billionaire, brilliant businessman. It simply is not true according to his tax records.
Trump is also in the midst of a tough election and a dispute the past ten years with the IRS over auditing his returns. The agency has doubts about a tax refund of more than $72 million he received, even after he declared losses on businesses. If the IRS wins, the president could owe the government $100 million.
The records also show Trump is heavily reliant on income from his businesses that create major conflicts with his duties as president.
The president's defenders have often said Trump has paid millions in "personal taxes" but they are likely confusing those payments with income taxes. Trump, like most Americans, has paid social security, Medicare, and taxes for household employees.
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