During this campaign, I have considered submitting a guest opinion regarding Donald Trump. I haven’t because it meant putting friends on the spot for their support of him and would be difficult for me personally, should I decide to run for office again. However, my horror of this man being our next president outweighs personal ambition or discomfort for others.
Recently Trump stated our generals have been “reduced to rubble,” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama and that in reading the body language of intelligence officers during his intelligence briefing, it is clear they are displeased with our president. If President Barack Obama were willing to take over countries through force, kill journalists, create a government-controlled media, interfere with other countries’ elections through cyberattacks, cheat to win at athletics and use our country’s military to prop up brutal leaders, maybe Trump would think him “strong.” Watching Republican leaders condone all this has moved me from being irritated to feeling sick.
The Republican Party is the Party of Lincoln, yet most Republicans are unwilling to criticize Trump’s remarks on minorities and religious affiliation. He wanted a federal judge disqualified because of a Latino surname and would ban Muslims from entering the U.S. based on religion. Khizr Khan was right to question whether Trump has read the Constitution. Trump will quote it when supporting gun rights, but ignore it on religious freedom.
The final straw for me was his comment regarding our country’s generals. This man did everything possible to avoid the draft during Vietnam. I was in college during the first draft lottery. My number was 53, though I could not be drafted. Young men sitting in my classes one day were gone the next because of low draft numbers like mine. Their lives changed forever while mine did not because I was female. Then as now, I find the unfairness of this painful, just as his comments about Sen. John McCain were deplorable. Many of these generals served in the war that Trump avoided.
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My relationship with the Republican Party has been tested over the years. I am pro-choice, voted against the marriage amendment, was willing to go into debt through GARVEE bonding to improve roads and voted against moving school funding from property taxes to sales tax. Through it all, however, I hung in, thinking there was a place in the party for someone who considers themselves a moderate. But today I feel far more comfortable with President Ronald Reagan saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” than with Trump’s demand that we build one.
His business practices made him rich, but have left those doing business with him truly in “rubble.” He discriminated against people based on race in housing that he owned. He was fined for a “charitable” donation to the Florida attorney general’s campaign while she was considering investigating Trump University for scamming students. He refuses to disclose his taxes.
This leads me to this bottom line. I didn’t leave the Republican Party ... it left me.
Kathy Skippen lives in Emmett. Her family has been in agriculture in Gem County for 113 years. She has been a Gem County commissioner and served two terms as an Idaho legislator.