“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” When Senator Mitch McConnell publicly said those words after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he started a sequence of events that culminated with this past weekend’s melt down for Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party. I am sure politicians have felt the way McConnell did before, but I had never witnessed a Senate Majority Leader say so in public.
You would think the single most important thing on Congress’s agenda back then would have been to fix the economy, but McConnell’s statement signaled to everyone that the Republicans did not respect Obama, and they didn’t care if the world knew it.
After McConnell and his Republican colleagues made it okay to openly disrespect the Office of the President of The United States, everyone from elected officials, to private citizens, and of course Donald Trump unleashed a barrage of disrespectful, hate-filled insults, inappropriate racial comments and out right lies against Americas first black President.
During Obama’s first State of the Union Speech, Joe Wilson, a Republican Congressman from South Carolina, called the President a liar in front of the American people and the entire world. Wilson apologized, but the damage was already done. Then there was the birth of the TEA Party, a movement that began immediately after the inauguration of the nation’s first black President. I guess Republicans didn’t see a need for a TEA Party during the Carter or Clinton administrations.
The TEA Party had a major influence on the Republican Party, endorsing candidates who shut down the government in 2013 in an attempt to defund Obamacare, and who refused to support their own Speaker of The House, John Boehner. Boehner got so frustrated with TEA Party Republicans he resigned as Speaker and from Congress in 2015. Opposition to Boehner’s leadership and increasing discord within the party prompted him to resign unexpectedly.
However the cruelest and most hurtful assault by the Republican Party against Barack Obama was the birther movement. There is no conceivable way Obama could have gotten through the Democratic primaries if he were not an American citizen. The Clinton campaign would have exposed him in a second if that were true. Despite this, Republicans in Congress stood by and said nothing as Donald Trump repeatedly called for Obama to produce proof of his American citizenship.
Even after Obama produced his birth certificate in 2011, Trump and many Americans still refused to believe it was authentic. Trump even called for Obama to release his college transcripts. Last week a Trump supporter being interviewed on TV in Florida was still calling for Obama to produce his birth certificate!
The birther movement was created solely to discredit and disqualify America’s first black President. The birther movement also impacted how other countries treated the President, viewed America, and was hurtful to black Americans. Donald Trump still has not apologized, and is now blaming the Clinton administration for starting the birther movement; he is also patting himself on the back for making Obama produce his birth certificate.
After the Access Hollywood video leaked this past weekend, and his performances in the two Presidential debates, it is very clear that Donald Trump is in way over his head. He has not laid out one strategy for his agenda. Trump has only attacked his opponent, and anyone else who disagrees with him, or asks him tough questions.
The ascension of Donald Trump to the top of the Republican Presidential ticket is a direct result of the vitriol Republicans have directed toward Obama over the past eight years. Now the Republican Party is in shambles with Republican leaders abandoning Trump in droves, and some Republicans in Congress are weighing rather to abandon Trump or stay with him. Their chickens have come home to roost.
Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues have turned the party of Lincoln into the party of hate. What would America be like now had Mitch McConnell said these words in 2009 instead “The American people have elected a President, and it is our duty as American’s to support him as best we can.” I guess we will never know!
Matthew R. Drayton is the president of Drayton Communications.