Like so many others, I was somewhat glad to see Donald Trump get in the GOP presidential primary. My initial hope was that he would help steer the party faithful into the conservative camp and address issues that “establishment” candidates tend to shy away from.
But that’s not what has happened. Instead, Trump has shown a disturbing side that should worry the entire GOP, even though he has made some very good points in the campaign.
For me, the first sign of trouble was the dust-up between him and Megyn Kelly. I initially chalked that up to inexperience and thought it might blow over. It didn’t, and Trump ultimately chose to take his toys and leave the GOP debate before the Iowa Caucuses.
After the caucuses, I thought he was quite gracious — presidential, even — in his remarks. But then something happened.
Trump began accusing Ted Cruz of stealing the election and said he would “probably” sue Cruz over the election results. Naturally, his followers picked up the mantra. The ensuing brouhahah even sparked a trending hashtag — #Trumpertantrum.
But looking back at Trump’s history, one can find many examples of this kind of overheated behavior. Last September, for example, he went ballistic when the National Review’s Rich Lowry said Carly Fiorina “cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon,” shocking even Megyn Kelly.
Trump said, according to the Center for Western Journalism:
“I have this thing called Twitter and Facebook, which is amazing actually,” he said on MSNBC. “It’s like owning The New York Times without the losses.”
“With one tweet, 140 characters, you can knock somebody out,” he commented. “Pretty cool.”
And there are many other examples as well.
Which makes me wonder — how, exactly, would a President Trump respond if he thought a foreign head of state “disrespected” him? After all, as president, his finger would be the one on the nuclear button. Would he consider launching a nuclear strike, say, against Canada, if he thought PM Justin Trudeau didn’t do what he wanted? After all, we already know how he feels about people born in Canada.
A silly question, you ask? Hardly. Trump has exhibited this kind of behavior time and again. It may work on “The Apprentice” or in his own board rooms, but it’s not the kind of thing we need in the Oval Office.
This is why primary elections are so important. Not only do we get to examine the candidates’ policy positions and records, we get to observe how they react in various situations.
Are they calm and collected in the face of growing pressure, or do they fly off the handle in fits of rage, lashing out at whomever is readily available?
Someone who goes ballistic when a writer or journalist criticizes him or her while on the campaign trail will never be able to handle the criticism he or she would receive in office, not to mention the criticism that person might get from a foreign power.
As a candidate, Trump can do little more than stomp his feet and throw a tantrum. As president, however, he could fly off the handle and engulf the world in a nuclear holocaust.
That’s why we need calm, measured, thoughtful leadership in the White House, not bellicose bravado and narcissistic chest-thumping.
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- Sour grapes: Donald Trump accuses Ted Cruz of stealing Iowa election, demands do-over
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- Ted Cruz sets record for most votes in Iowa GOP Caucuses for single candidate