Donald Trump’s ability to say offensive things and continue to rise in the polls has cowed other Republicans from attacking him directly for his bad behavior. Jeb Bush and Rand Paul have begun challenging Trump’s conservative bona fides, a sensible attack line in a Republican primary. But some comments are so beyond the pale that to ignore them is unconscionable, regardless of the political implications.
In Boston this week, two men beat a homeless man with a pipe, broke his nose, bruised his ribs and peed on him, while saying “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.”
Trump’s response hours later was abhorrent: “it would be a shame . . . I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
Instead of outright condemnation, Trump rationalized their criminal and bigoted behavior. This not mere political incorrectness. This is inspiring hate. This is pure demagoguery.
I have yet to hear a Republican candidate call Trump out by name for excusing a violent hate crime as the result of being “passionate.” There is still time.
But if they can’t, it is an utter failure for a major political party to police its members, stand for decency and uphold basic human rights.