Donald Trump has chastised former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for breaking their pledge to support the Republican nominee for president.
His criticism is unwarranted.
After taking the selfsame verbal pledge, in addition to affixing his signature on a written pledge, Trump repeatedly used his pledges as psychological bargaining chips to intimidate GOP leaders. After multiple hedges around his pledges, it became clear that those pledges were not enforceable.
On April 3, just a few days before his pivotal Indiana victory, Trump told Fox News,“We’re going to have to see how I was treated. I’m going to have to see how I was treated. Very simple.”
“It’s not a question of win or lose. It’s a question of treatment. I want to be treated fair,” he said.
Trump has been treated more than fairly by the GOP, which has rules that favor a frontrunner disproportionate to their popular vote. Trump has won just 40 percent of popular votes cast; yet he has picked up some 54 percent of delegates. The party apparatus has been very kind to Trump, though he hasn’t returned the favor, continuing his long streak of offensive, vulgar and bizarre behavior unbefitting the leader of the free world.
And of course, Trump can articulate no objective standard of fairness. It’s simply a matter of whim. It’s also clear that Trump’s loyalty to the Republican Party was fleeting and tenuous at best. Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush have said they would not attend the convention in Cleveland this year. The Bush family’s reluctance is understandable after Trump both refused to stand firm on his pledge and also chose to attack the younger Bush as a forewarned, knowing bystander of the heinous 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This is categorically false, as was Trump’s assertion that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. Despite this, former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — toppled by Trump backers — touts his status as Trump’s golf buddy and is now one of the most vocal opponents of Cruz. Yet Trump backers are still virulent against a mythical “GOP Establishment.” Trump voters are basing their decision on emotions and anger rather than facts and the future.
Despite party rules tilted in Trump’s favor, however, Republican voters have spoken, and some 60 percent of primary voters have said “No thanks, Trump.” The question is whether Trump can listen to these millions of Republicans, as well as, more broadly, the millions of women, Latinos and Africans-Americans who are looking at him askance.
Cross-posted from Opportunity Lives.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.