I boarded the Trump train in 2016 in Wisconsin and considered myself one of the early conductors. I attended his magnificent high-energy rallies, embraced MAGA, sang his praises, persuaded others to support him, overlooked his flaws – and was often entertained by his bombastic personality.
I flew the Trump flag, wore the MAGA hat, and voted for him 3 times. I supported many of his policies as #45.
However, I have grown weary of his unbecoming and self-absorbed behavior, particularly towards other proven, solid conservative Republicans. Trump devotees claim that those of us who have become disillusioned with him have somehow been swayed by his critics.
Trump’s own bad behavior and that of his followers has influenced me the most. His disciples have adopted his method for attacking those who dare to disagree – most notably, through juvenile name-calling. And they’ve repeated and overused the RINO / establishment / traitor labels so much so that they no longer have any meaning. Their claim that we’ve somehow been prejudiced by those whose policies and beliefs that we loathe, namely the MSM and Democrats is simply not true. I don’t seek out the opinions of those whom I don’t respect and don’t agree. I rely solely upon my common sense, my critical thinking skills and my gut – which inevitably leads me to do what is right and directly opposite of what our opponents on the left think, say and do.
Trump’s insults toward fellow Republicans have become increasingly more concerning – and bizarre.
His recent affront toward Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, referring to him as “Ron De-sanctimonious,” and strange insinuation that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s name sounds “Chinese” reveals something very problematic about Trump’s character. During the 2022 gubernatorial primary, Trump referred to dedicated grassroots conservative and former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who was running for Governor of Wisconsin as a “communist sympathizer,” purportedly because as Lt. Governor, she had traveled to China on a trade mission to find new export markets for Wisconsin farmers and cheese producers. Trump proceeded to criticize her husband, referring to him as the “biggest lobbyist”- not mentioning that he worked on behalf of disabled children and sportsmen groups. As a former Republican legislator, Mr. Kleefisch worked to get pro-life legislation passed to protect Down Syndrome children and a pro-life bill to force physicians to save the lives of babies born through botched abortions. Trump also went after Kleefisch’s daughter because he was critical of the father of her high school prom date. Yes, he’s THAT petty and ill-mannered.
When Trump inserted himself into the 2022 Wisconsin Republican Gubernatorial Primary and endorsed a weak candidate, he miscalculated his divisive actions among those who were already firmly ensconced in their respective candidates’ camps. Subsequently, Trump’s shortsighted endorsement led to the re-election of Democrat incumbent Governor Tony Evers. Conservative Wisconsinites’ worst fears have been realized and we will pay the price for Trump’s interference in our election. As much as he likes to tout his ‘successful’ endorsements, he bears responsibility for his influence on voters which has led to four more years of a feckless and dangerous Democrat Governor and Attorney General in Wisconsin.
However, Trump’s poor judgment in aligning with and endorsing failed candidates and his association with controversial celebrities is not my greatest concern. His most dangerous and damning alliances were with enabling bureaucrats like Tony Fauci and profit-driven Big Pharma. He is responsible for Operation Warp Speed, which pushed the development of an ineffective, dangerous and deadly vaccine for a completely survivable and treatable virus. Operation Warp Speed led to the federal government’s exploitation of the virus and steered policies which coerced American workers, our dedicated military and precious healthcare providers to have no choice but to take the shot or lose their livelihoods.
Ultimately, this is about Trump’s miscalculations, flawed judgment, poor instincts and bad alliances. He allowed himself to be manipulated by Tony Fauci, whom he should instead have fired. In pushing Operation Warp Speed, he also further enabled an already unholy alliance between Big Government and Big Pharma. This led to the unnecessary injuries and deaths of well over a million Americans (through denied treatment protocols and the harmful vaxx), the censorship and vilification of prominent and dedicated physicians, thousands of unemployed Americans and a severe worker shortage in all industries.
We must be honest and remember where Trump’s mistakes have led this country.
A true statesman – someone who claims to put America first – would focus on furthering conservatism and the Republican Party over his own political ambitions and build up conservative leaders rather than calling them names and maligning their characters. Supporting those who are strong and successful reinforces the Republican Party, demonstrates confidence and inspires diplomacy. Trump’s attacks on fellow Republicans whom he believes threaten his perceived political future only further divide and destroy.
I do believe that Donald Trump inspired many of us to channel our “inner American.” However, his lack of humility has brought out many of the worst qualities among his supporters – and his detractors. The discourse and division within the conservative movement is nearly irreparable and Trump’s prideful behavior won’t bring back us together. Not only is America severely divided between political parties, but the conservative movement is also deeply fractured.
The Republican Party needs a strong national figure to lead the party. I have not yet seen any evidence that Trump is capable of humbling himself and truly putting America first by focusing on and prioritizing saving conservatism and the Republican Party. This is why Trump has lost me and many of us who were once his strongest supporters.