Is GOP waking up?
To the Journal editor:
The Trump presidency has been a blessing in at least one respect: we now know who are the principled Republican conservatives. George Will, Mona Charen and Joinah Goldberg are Republican columnists whose anti-Trump writings have elevated them to a respected stature. Similarly, Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are Republicans who have placed country above party.
But the majority of the Republican establishment has behaved as rank opportunists willing to enter into a Faustian bargain for slashing regulations, tax cuts for the wealthy and Supreme Court picks. They cower when the president rallies his followers and threatens primary challenges.
Fiscal conservatives have turned a blind eye to burgeoning budget deficits caused by unneeded and unfair tax cuts; free trade has been held hostage to the whims of Mr. Trump; he doles out tariff exemptions to the politically connected and subsidizes farmers hurt by his protectionist policies; and cruelest of all, the Party of Lincoln has turned its back on inclusion.
Perhaps most dangerous and long-lasting of Mr. Trump’s ill-considered policies has been his threatened trade wars. Instead of enlisting the help of European trade partners in the struggle against Chinese mercantilism, he threatens them with tariffs. His administration has weakened the World Trade Organization, which is the best hope of reining in Chinese wrongdoing.
Recent high GDP growth has been boosted by massive fiscal deficits, but many economic forecasters are now warning of trade uncertainties. Trump’s protectionism is disrupting world supply chains, adding to production costs and raising consumer prices. Foreign investment into the United States (a key indicator of confidence) has plummeted under his trade threats while domestic investment has been mediocre despite large corporate tax cuts.
Mr. Trump lashes out at European allies, endangering the Atlantic Alliance, and he demeans himself before the neo-Soviet Mr. Putin. Russia and Mr. Putin do not share our values. His thuggish regime invades neighboring countries, blows civilian airliners out of the air and murders its citizens at home and abroad; we cannot cozy up to the Russian tyrant. Some in the GOP recognize this, but the majority looks away.
Only recently have some in the GOP begun to push back against Mr. Trump’s abandonment of the party’s long-standing principles. Perhaps Republicans should reread Ronald Reagan speeches to find again their vertebrae and join the majority of Americans in opposing this most disastrous of presidents.