Friday, May 13, 2016

Trump: On the way to a ‘10’

With some advice, the Donald can be a knockout candidate

Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times 

By Mary Claire Kendall - - Tuesday, May 10, 2016


In the wake of Donald Trump’s huge win in Indiana, the shotgun wedding is complete. Republicans are hitched to “the Donald.” The honeymoon has now begun.

Well, not exactly.

The more apt analogy would be the runaway bride representing much of the Republican establishment — including, notably, former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney, the latter two the party’s 2008 and 2012 presidential nominees, respectively; and, now House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Admittedly, Mr. Trump is not exactly a “10.”

But neither are his rivals in the GOP.

It’s time to recognize the moment for what it is — a great opportunity for all of us in the Republican Party to come together and see what we can do differently to be at our best.
This Thursday, our prospective presidential nominee will have a sit-down meeting in Washington. Here is some of what the establishment should tell him.

The way you warmly embrace your audiences as you did in West Virginia in your first campaign stop after Indiana, where the scene was set by John Denver’s “Country Roads,” is awe-inspiring. And your earnest pledge to “make America great again” puts a bounce in our steps.

But we need to talk about how all of that good is sometimes undermined by your habit of talking in less-than-flattering terms about certain groups of people and individuals. Sure, it’s all part of your schtick as a larger-than-life New York business mogul and reality TV star. And a certain amount of candor is refreshing.

However, it’s a new day. You’re on the path to the presidency, and certain things must change.

For starters, you need to speak more inclusively about women. They’re about 54 percent of the electorate. We have no doubt you “love women.” But your words and deeds must align so that they feel the love.

Hispanics and Muslims, too. Building a wall the entire length of the southern border to keep out the former and indiscriminately banning entry to our great country vis-a-vis the latter, are nonstarters.

And you should think about reaching out and building a bridge to Pope Francis — the word “pontiff” means “bridge builder.” Calling His Holiness a “disgrace” in the lead-up to the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday based on incorrect reporting, while perhaps good politics, is no way to heal religious and sectarian divides.

Regarding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and their relationship to tackling the deficit and corollary gaping debt, we agree. Our Dudley Do-Right approach might need some retooling. Nonetheless, please acknowledge the reality that, in preserving those programs, we also need to ensure our nation’s fiscal health is restored.

And do not threaten NATO. We need NATO now more than ever.

Also, regarding tax policy, your constantly shifting positions are unhelpful. If you want to be Reaganesque, stake out a position and stick with it.

We know you can be a “10” and we’ll do our part, as well. Together, under your leadership, Americans will build a brighter, more secure future.

Mary Claire Kendall, a Washington-based writer, is author of “Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood.”  She served in the George H.W. Bush administration.


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