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July 17, 2018

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Our president is trampling on our nation’s values

Scout Law

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

For decades, conservatives have been decrying the erosion of traditional American values as exemplified by groups like the Boy Scouts, law enforcement and the military.

So you have to wonder how any of them, and especially GOP congressional leaders, continue to stand by President Donald Trump, given that his behavior over the past couple of weeks has drawn criticism from all three of those groups, and more.

Is it a traditional American value to encourage police brutality, for instance? Or to trample about half of the tenets of Scout Law while addressing tens of thousands of impressionable young people? Or to unilaterally issue a ban on military service to prevent the admission of certain group of Americans, thousands of whom already are serving?

Trump did all that and then some, dragging the presidency to a new depth of indignity while lying that Boy Scout officials later told him his speech was the best the group had ever heard and claiming he was “joking” when he encouraged a group of New York police officers to be rougher when arresting suspects.

There’s nothing amusing about any of this. The delight that Trump takes in appealing to Americans’ base instincts and fanning flames of intolerance and division is repulsive. He’s defiling the nation’s values before our eyes.

Yet while Trump has faced occasional bursts of blowback from GOP members of Congress, top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have rarely rebuked him. While Trump drags the White House and the nation down with such acts as hiring a communications director with such a foul mouth that he lasted less than two weeks on the job — how are you feeling about that one, conservatives? — the Republican establishment has largely looked the other way.

Thank heaven other Americans have spines and follow an ethical code, like the police officials who condemned Trump’s remarks about mistreating suspects, the Boy Scout officials who called out Trump’s lie and the transgender soldiers and retired generals who displayed the nation’s finest values by speaking out against the service ban. On the last point, it’s well worth noting that Trump has no military experience but is demeaning people who are brave enough to serve.

The reaction to Trump’s outrageous behavior offers hope that eventually, public sentiment against the president will become intense and loud enough that congressional leaders can no longer ignore it. Certainly, polls suggest things are headed that way. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 33 percent of American voters approve of Trump’s performance in office while 61 percent disapprove of it. The approval rating was down 7 points from a poll in late June.

Trump’s base will likely blame the media for the president’s bad ratings, or contend the polls are rigged, or acknowledge that the majority of Americans disapprove of Trump but it doesn’t matter because the president’s supporters tend to vote and those who oppose him don’t.

But except for the alt-right lunatic fringe, the Alex Jones types who are calling for civil war, it’s getting increasingly difficult to figure out who would stay in Trump’s corner.

When a president is running afoul of groups like the Boy Scouts, police departments and the Armed Services, something is seriously wrong.

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