Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump presents dilemmas all around. Earlier this week he suggested that “second amendment people” could stop Secretary Hillary Clinton (the Democratic presidential nominee) from appointing Supreme Court justices. His comment was widely interpreted to implicitly suggest that she could (or perhaps, should) be assassinated. Consequently he has been soundly rebuked my most media networks, politicians (past and present), Democrats and Republicans. More Republican high office holders are issuing public statements saying that they cannot support and will not vote for him. Meanwhile, he claims that his comment was only a joke and never meant to infer what others have interpreted it to be.
There are many who are calling on the Republican National Committee to withdraw his nomination as their presidential candidate, an action that they can apparently take under their rules. If they were to do this, who would they chose as their candidate to replace him? And who would want to accept their nomination? While such an action might restore their position as a party with some credibility, it would almost assuredly give the presidential election to Secretary Clinton, as well as victory to a host of Democratic candidates on down the line. There is a chance that the Democrats could regain a majority in Congress, especially in the Senate. But keeping Mr. Trump as their candidate also poses the same risk. What to do?
Those Republican politicians who have publicly condemned Mr. Trump’s comments, while still voicing support for his candidacy, are finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory positions. More and more they are being called upon by to justify their action. This poses a particularly difficult dilemma for House Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan, who is charged with the task of leading his party in the House, and thus being the champion of the Republican presidential candidate. Yet, he is a leading candidate to be the party’s nominee for president if Mr. Trump were to have that position taken from him. Catch 22! Does he support Mr. Trump for the sake of party unity, while that unity seems to be disintegrating around him? Or, if he believes that Mr. Trump is unfit to serve as president, which I think that he increasingly believes, does he pursue his own gain to “save” his party and the country? What to do?
The Director of the Secret Service is equally caught in a bind. I have no doubt that if I had publicly made the comment that Mr. Trump made about Secretary Clinton and “second amendment people” that I would have received a visit from Secret Service agents posthaste. How do you investigate a person who has made such a remark when you are also charged with protecting him? And if you do investigate Mr. Trump, who made this remark at a political rally, how do you maintain your credibility as an impartial public servant, especially when your boss is President Obama? How do you keep from adding fuel to the fire of those who believe that the Democrats and the government have “rigged” the election? Would such an investigation inspire that one individual who strongly believes that Secretary Clinton must be stopped at all costs to attempt to assassinate her? It only takes one. The Director must be having a lot of sleepless nights this week. What to do?
What do you do now, Mr. Trump? Do you continue your inflammatory rhetoric? Or do you abandon your beliefs and speak from the scripts written by your campaign staff in order to sound “presidential?” Could you do that for the next four years? What to do?
What to do, America? Where do we go from here?