Neal: Respecting Republicans while resisting Trump

In a heavily partisan political environment, some have assumed my disapproval of Donald Trump’s presidency is because of the Republican Party Label. It’s not. It’s because of Trump himself.


Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

President Donald Trump attends a rally on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn.

Madeleine Neal, Opinions Columnist

As a registered Democrat and self-proclaimed liberal, I’m not surprised that my disapproval of President Donald Trump’s role in the White House is unequivocally assumed.

I commonly hear that we “snowflake” liberals are attacking everyone in the Republican Party — that we think all Republicans are inherently heartless, racist, sexist, and a whole list of other words that clearly don’t apply to everyone touting an “elephant logo.”

I grew up in a town no more than 15 minutes from the hometown of Ronald Reagan. Yes, the 40th president of the United States who spearheaded “Reaganomics,” a laissez-faire economic system that was completely pro-capitalistic and pro-free trade in its practice.

Now, do I necessarily agree with “trickle-down economics?”

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Of course, I have my own views on capitalism and its social implication, but my point in mentioning Reagan is simple: I may not agree with his conservative policy approach, but I can at least understand and respect the concept.

From the beginning, Trump displayed a plethora of character flaws and problematic policy suggestions.

It’s unfair to ignore the steps that others on the right have taken to denounce some of the many problematic antics underway in Washington

Trump is a bully. Not even just to people across the aisle but to people in his own party.

On a campaign trail, there will always be smear ads. It’s politics — politicians take jabs at their opponents, especially on televised debates. This has been the norm since the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. 

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But Trump’s tactic to make his opponents feel small is something that he’s carried well into his presidency. From the 2016 “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” and “Little Marco” jabs to his more recent days of calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., “Pocahontas,” Trump has become the playground bully stealing lunch money from anyone who doesn’t give him his way.

We, of course, need to stand up to bullies. And while Trump has gotten somewhat of a free ride from many congressional Republicans, it’s unfair to ignore the steps that others on the right have taken to denounce some of the many problematic antics underway in Washington.

When Iowa Rep. Steve King made his mid-January comments defending white nationalism and questioning the offensiveness of white supremacy, House Republicans prevented him from sitting on any committees.

Of course I would’ve liked to see King stripped of his seat altogether, and I would’ve loved to see those same House Republicans denounce Trump, too; but nonetheless, King’s removal from House committee roles was a step in the right direction by right-leaners who, at the very least, realized the weight and danger of King’s words.

Former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also stood up to the then GOP-frontrunner in a 2016 speech delivered at the University of Utah, arguing that Trump did not have the temperament to be president.

Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman from Utah, called out Trump in a November 2018 concession speech for having no real relationships, only transactions. And when Trump fired back at her on Twitter, Love asked what the president gained by his jabs at a fellow Republican.

I’m a strong believer that if we acknowledge the good across the aisle, while of course denouncing any unconstitutional, inexcusable action along the way, we can unite ourselves — independent from a leader who’s arguably dividing so many.

And who knows, maybe we can reopen the government along the way.