There he stood before a few faithful. A one-hit wonder trying to rekindle excitement with his rusted-out routine.
Reminiscing about things that never actually happened.
Exaggerating a short career blanketed with wrongdoing and controversy.
Begging his followers to look over here, and not over there.
In an event at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, Tuesday, Donald J. Trump, who has been a malignancy on American politics and the embarrassment of the Republican Party, announced his intention of giving some people more of what they want, and giving most people more of what they’ve tried to forget: another four years as president of the United States.
The Election-Denier-in-Chief thinks his grip on the Republican Party is so tight no candidate, no elected official, nor voters will deny the 45th president the privilege of also becoming the 47th.
That would once again revive an existential threat to U.S. democracy. A reelected and emboldened Trump could use government institutions like the Justice Department to attack his enemies. He invited the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and did nothing to stop it.
Voters and the Republican Party should not give him a second chance. Normally, when someone asks for a second chance there’s a kernel of penitence attached to the request. Instead, Trump thinks we need him. Newsflash to Trump: We don’t.
There’s no need to list the reasons why America doesn’t need more divisiveness, bigotry, misogyny, corruption, incompetence, pettiness, greed and scandal in the White House. But let’s start with a president who in 2017 saw white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “good people,” all the way to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the president hoarding U.S. classified documents at his private residence in Florida.
Of course Trump is unfit to serve as president. Just as he was in 2016, but maybe even more so now. And voters finally realized that in 2020.
This month, voters again rejected Trumpism as they said “no’’ to several Republican candidates who praised him, and other down-ballot candidates who became casualties just by being stained with a red R.
In Washington’s 8th Congressional District, Republican attorney Matt Larkin was defeated by incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier. And Trump-endorsed candidate Joe Kent lost to Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the 3rd District.
The Washington state Republican Party would learn from the general election that voters have moved on from Trump’s spell and are thirsting for something new and productive and civil.
“We will have to talk to the voters,” said state GOP chair Caleb Heimlich. “They were open to Republican messaging on inflation and crime. We’re doing a postmortem and exit polling of voters. We’ll try to see what we need to do to win their votes in 2024.”
Heimlich said what the Washington GOP will not do is get involved in supporting or rejecting Trump as the party’s nominee.
“It should be a fair process and let the debate happen and abide by the will of the voters across the country,” he said.
Yet, the state party did not wait for the will of the voters in the 3rd District before publicly rebuking — and Clark County Republicans censuring — outgoing Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for voting to impeach Trump for his role in the attack on the Capitol. Kent bumped her out of the race in the primary.
Party officials should not sit on the sidelines as Trump continues to drive a stake in the heart of the party. They must speak up, for the nation.