Donald Trump’s appalling remarks aboard a bus with Billy Bush have his prominent supporters scrambling to recover shreds of their discarded credibility. Too late.
By now you have heard the story:
Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone, saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” according to a video obtained by The Washington Post.
The video captures Trump talking with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,” on a bus with the show’s name written across the side. They were arriving on the set of “Days of Our Lives” to tape a segment about Trump’s cameo on the soap opera.
Here’s the video:
Quoth the Republican presidential nominee:
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
No doubt you can, if you are The Donald. He could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his devotees would continue in their worship.
Outside of his cult, however, there appear to be limits to how disgustingly people will debase themselves on his behalf. Supporters who hope to have careers in politics after Trump withdraws back into his septic world of tabloids and reality television are now scrambling to disassociate themselves from him.
Possibly the most hilarious is the disavowal by a pompous fraud named Bill Bennett:
“The President is the symbol of who the people of the United States are,” a leading conservative intellectual wrote. “He is the person who stands for us in the eyes of the world and the eyes of our children.”
That was written by William J. Bennett. For those who don’t remember, Bennett was Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Education. He went on to a big career as America’s top conservative purveyor of virtue and moral tutelage. His 1993 “The Book of Virtues” was a best seller, as was “The Children’s Book of Virtues.”
But then Bennett threw his virtues out the window on behalf of Trump — and threatened to throw principled conservatives out after them. Look what he had to say about those who would not betray their beliefs for the sake of Donald Trump:
“[Trump] does not need to speak to the “Never Trumpers,” some of my friends – or maybe former friends – who suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country.”
Maintaining certain minimum moral standards (often denigrated as “virtue signaling”) is regarded as a character flaw among Trump supporters like Bill Bennett and fellow former champion of virtue Dennis Prager.
Yet today we see this:
WILLIAM J. BENNETT, a Trump ally, to WaPo: Trump “should step down… It's a shame, a crying shame, but he can't win.”
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 8, 2016
Do you want your virtue back now, Bill? Maybe you didn’t realize until just now that Donald Trump is a piece of garbage, even though he has been making a pageant of his trashiness for decades. Now that you admit the sellouts sacrificed their principles for nothing, do you want to preach to us about morals some more? Do you want people to take you seriously again?
Not going to happen, ever.
Hugh Hewitt is also calling for Trump to step down, knowing full well there is zero chance he will:
For the benefit of the country, the party and his family, and for his own good, @realDonaldTrump should withdraw. More and worse oppo coming
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 8, 2016
Hewitt wants to have it both ways: stay loyal to the party and true to basic decency. But Trump does not allow you to have it both ways. Everyone must choose; Hewitt already chose by supporting Trump.
So did the bigwigs in the GOP hierarchy, who are currently tsk-tsking and even refusing to appear with Trump. Too little, too late. They could have stopped him. But Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, John McCain, and the rest all climbed aboard the Trump Train. They may have been holding their noses, but they boarded of their own free will. Now they have to ride to the end of the line, at which point, if there is any justice or decency left in this world, their careers will end in disgrace.
The point of the Republican Party is to resist degeneracy and bloated, authoritarian Big Government. Trump personifies both, as we all knew long before the release of his conversation with Billy Bush. A Republican Party that presents him as its candidate serves no purpose and deserves no support.
Thanks are due to Trump for lifting the scales from our eyes. It’s as if everyone right of center had been wearing a mask, and only now can we see their true faces.
The handful of conservatives who have paid the price to hold out against him have my deepest respect. No one wants to lose their audience or risk being marginalized.
In contrast, those who sold out conservatism by aiding and abetting Trump’s corruption of the GOP, whether they did it as eagerly as Sean Hannity or as grudgingly as Mark Levin, will get what they have coming when the train they boarded inevitably comes off the rails and plunges into a gorge.
On tips from Varla.