Half of the candidates who condemned Donald Trump as being unfit to be president during the first Republican primary debate last month will be absent from tonight’s Republican primary debate. Asa Hutchinson, who just ended eight years as governor of Arkansas, and also served in Congress and led the Drug Enforcement Administration, didn’t make the cut for this second debate.
So on stage tonight from the Ronald Reagan Library, only Chris Christie will be carrying the banner that Trump is an accused criminal, who tried to steal the presidency after he lost the 2020 election. Trump’s candidacy is a disgrace to the once great Republican Party of men like Reagan and Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
Notably, both Hutchinson and Christie held the position of U.S. attorney and were responsible for enforcing the law. It doesn’t mean that all former U.S. attorneys stay straight arrows, as our own Rudy Giuliani proves, but Hutchinson and Christie know a crime when they see one and that’s what they see in Trump.
Now Christie may relish being the sole truth teller tonight, but he is a reviled figure in the GOP, partly for his break with Trump and partly for working with President Barack Obama in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy walloped New Jersey. Christie’s being near the top of the pack trailing Trump in New Hampshire is due the fact that independents are a large component of the Republican primary voters there. Christie is going to have to win over actual Republicans and we wish him luck tonight.
Since the last debate, Trump hasn’t been indicted or arrested any more times (he’s holding at four, two state and two federal), but he was found liable yesterday for cheating on the valuations of his New York properties by a Manhattan judge in a civil case brought by state Attorney General Tish James. That means that Trump’s trial, starting Monday, is going to be a lose-lose situation, only determining the extent of his punishment as James seeks a quarter billion dollar penalty and to kick out the Trumps from the Trump Organization. Our best wishes on both endeavors.
While not a court proceeding, or even a court-martial, Trump did accuse Gen. Mark Milley — the man he appointed to be chairman of the joint chiefs of staff — of treason and longed for the days of old when traitors were hanged. Maybe Milley could be strung up next to Mike Pence, whose four years of slavish loyalty to Trump only ended when he wouldn’t violate the U.S. Constitution for the Orange One.
Pence had the most speaking time during the first debate and will have his time tonight, along with the wanna-be mini-Trumps, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis, a loathsome pair. They claim to be running against Trump, but they spend all their effort running to be just like him.
Beside Christie and Pence, another former Trump-backer who has broken from The Leader is Nikki Haley. So far, she has avoided Trump’s wrath and we cringe in anticipation of how Trump will use her sex and ethnic background to lob down thunderbolts. What insults can his cruel and warped mind conjure up for her?
It might be hopeless for any of these contenders to stop Trump, but someone needs to.
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