Laura Washington: Trump a monster of the GOP’s making

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump autographs a poster for supporters. Photo by Nam Y. Huh, AP

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They created their own monster.

Donald J. Trump is the new “standard-bearer for the Republican Party,” declared Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid shortly after Trump mowed through seven Super Tuesday states.

“Republicans created him by spending seven years appealing to some of the darkest forces in America,” Talking Points Memo quoted Reid as saying. “Now it’s up to the Republicans to try and undo what they have done by denouncing Donald Trump. It’s time for the Republicans to stop the Frankenstein they created.”

They would love to.  Trump’s blowout performance in last week’s voting has inspired panicked loathing among the GOP establishment.


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They want him gone, but Trump is their own handiwork.

Since the day Barack Obama was inaugurated president of the United States, the GOP congressional leadership has ferociously refused to work with him and the Democrats, ensuring years of crippling and historic gridlock.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Reid’s Senate colleagues, Trump’s chief rivals for the GOP nomination, and blue-chip members of the tea party. Their allegiance to that rebelliously conservative wing of the GOP secured their rise in national politics.

A tea party mantra is the phrase “Take Back Our Country.” That’s a tidy bookend for Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

The message: The nation has been hijacked by our black president and other insidious “un-American” forces.

Republican honchos have forgotten that unforgettable moment in 2009 when, another tea party member, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, interrupted Obama’s speech during a joint session of Congress.

He shouted, “You lie!” to Obama after the president asserted that his health reform plan would not insure illegal immigrants.

Republicans may despair over Trump now, but many in their ranks have long indulged in the demonization of Latino immigrants, typecasting them as criminals, drug dealers and miscreants.

Have they noticed that the Confederate flag is still glorified in some parts of our republic?  Have they overlooked the images that popped up at tea party rallies and confabs?  One depicted Obama as a “monkey,” and another called him “a long legged mack daddy.”

And the birthers, those folks who repeatedly and infamously suggested the president was not really born in Hawaii, but in Africa?

In 2011, Trump joined in, demanding that Obama release his birth certificate. Trump threatened to send private investigators to Hawaii to check out the president’s papers, according to news reports.

Republican legislators in Florida and Texas did their part, introducing bills that would have required that presidential candidates prove they are natural-born U.S. citizens. The legislation failed, but the message was clear.

Meanwhile, the GOP establishment winked and nodded. As the New York Times recently noted, on “Meet the Press” in 2011 then-U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and then-U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor were asked about the birther movement and their “crazy” claims. The Republican leaders demurred.

“I don’t think it’s, it’s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?” Cantor said.

“It really is not our job to tell the American people what to believe and what to think,” Boehner said.

Trump is the horror-story culmination of the anger, resentment, disrespect and bigotry peddled by some in the Republican Party.

Now, their Frankenstein monster is lurching, scowling and terrorizing his way to the Republican presidential nomination.

As Reid declared, the GOP is “reaping what they have sown.”


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