A number of Vermont Republicans, including House Minority Leader Don Turner of Milton, have pulled their support from Donald Trump, the party’s presidential nominee. Their decisions have flummoxed Trump’s state chairman Brady Toensing.
“These guys are local politicians – who cares. Why are they weighing in on the presidential race? Either an overinflated sense of self or a slow news cycle. It doesn’t matter,” Mr. Toensing said.
As Mr. Trump’s state chairman (and vice chair of the Vermont GOP), perhaps he feels bound to defend the nominee regardless of his transgressions. As he noted, Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly sin-free, and it would be equally fitting for the media to excoriate her as it has Mr. Trump.
To Mr. Toensing’s point that local politicians are stepping into an issue above their pay grade, that’s absurd. We do care.
Mr. Trump has routinely degraded women and ethnic minorities, and the released recording by The Washington Post of Mr. Trump saying he often used his reality star status to grope women was more than even the most hard-bitten Republicans could tolerate.
They can also count. Women are fleeing Mr. Trump in droves.
That’s why Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he would no longer defend the man. That’s why Republican Sen. John McCain dropped his support. And the list mounts. It doesn’t work for them to support a misogynist.
So it was hardly a surprise to see Vermont Republicans do the same. In their eyes, it’s a move to save their party. They don’t want the association. They don’t want to be painted with the same brush. They have swallowed his tirades and his prejudices for months. The released recording of his “locker room” banter about women being sexual objects was confirmation he isn’t worthy of their support.
To continue to support Mr. Trump is to turn a blind eye to how he treats others not of his ilk. Voters need to know that.
So, it’s not an “overinflated sense of self ” for Vermont politicians to disassociate themselves from Mr. Trump. They would prefer not to be in this position. They would rather focus on their own races and not be asked about the latest shock-jock talk about Mr. Trump. He subtracts from the conversations they would prefer to have with their constituents. They rather have a candidate of whom they could be proud.
But to remain silent is almost as egregious as outwardly supporting the man. No election is worth the loss of one’s moral compass.
That is what Vermont’s Republicans were saying when they disavowed their party’s presidential nominee. They were right. We did need to see that and to hear their reasoning. They, like the rest of us, can hardly wait until this mess is over and Mr. Trump can return to the realtor/reality TV world from whence he came.
As a nation, it’s not been one of our better moments. At any level. Vermont Republicans are saying enough.
Emerson Lynn is co-publisher of The Colchester Sun.