Wall Street Journal Editor Castigates Donald Trump

The Wall Street Journal has long been a strong voice for conservative policies and Republican candidates and office-holders.

It, therefore, is noteworthy that on August 1, Bret Stephens, the Deputy Editor of the Journal’s Editorial Page, concluded that Donald Trump had joined the group of American politicians of “permanent dishonor:” Huey Long, Charles Coughlin, Alger Hiss, Joe McCarthy and Bull Connor. Moreover, Stephens said,” those who supported and excused them will always be tainted by association.”[1]

Of all of Trump’s “vile irruptions—about Sen. John McCain’s military record, or reporter Serge Kovaleski’s physical handicap, or Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s judicial fitness—his casual smear of Ghazala Khan is perhaps the vilest.”

“What makes Mr. Trump’s remarks so foul is their undisguised sadism. He took a woman too heartbroken and anxious to speak of her dead son before an audience of millions and painted a target on her. He treated her silence as evidence that she was either a dolt or a stooge. He degraded her.”

This comment constituted “the full unmasking of Mr. Trump, in case he needed further unmasking. He has, as Humayun’s father Khizr put it, a ‘black soul.’ His problem isn’t a lack of normal propriety but the absence of basic human decency. He is morally unfit for any office, high or low.”

Thus, the “central issue in this election . . . [is Trump’s] character, such as it is. The sin, in this case, is the sinner.” (Italics in original.)

Now leaders of the Republican Party must stop campaigning for Trump, Stephens says. “It will not do for Republicans to say they denounce Mr. Trump’s personal slanders; his nativism and protectionism and isolationism; his mendacity and meanness and crassness; his disdain for constitutional protections—and still campaign for his election. There is no redemption in saying you went along with it, but only halfway; that with Mr. Trump you maintained technical virginity. To lie down with him is to wake up with him. It’s as simple as that.”

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[1] Stephens, To the Go-Along Republicans, W.S.J. (Aug. 1, 2016).