Ari Fleischer: Why my 2020 choice for president will be Donald Trump
I voted for Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary election, left my ballot blank in the 2016 general election, and now must decide whom to vote for this year. In several ways, I find Donald Trump over the top and offensive. I have said this on air and on Twitter. He can be too hot to handle, insulting people and often making himself the issue, diverting attention from more important policy matters. Many of my Republican friends, notably women, will not vote for him, not because they are “Republicans in name only” but because the president has given them some reason to reject him.
His rhetoric and leadership on the coronavirus have been insufficient. His briefings in the spring became arguments instead of models. He seemed more interested, at least with his words, in playing down the pandemic to bolster the economy. Rather than wear a mask and host socially distanced events, he set a bad standard. It is frustrating since the government, after a slow start notably with testing, which was not the fault of the president, has responded well to the coronavirus, sending plenty of doctors, nurses, medicine, and even hospital ships to those in need. But if I had to rate the response of the president, I would have to say it is unsatisfactory.
But Trump also has faced opponents like no other president. He has been resisted, blamed, investigated by Democrats, the media, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the most unfair fashion I have seen. I strongly defended Trump against the charges of Russia collusion. I am glad I did. The charges as well as the willingness of his critics to bite on all alleged infractions, no matter how ludicrous, represent everything that is wrong with our politics today. I understand that many dislike the president, but his opponents managed to race to the bottom and found nothing.
When it comes to his behavior, I find him offensive and direct. Unlike most politicians, Trump lets it rip and just tells you what he will do, for better or worse. I faulted him for calling on Ukrainian authorities to investigate Joe Biden, but he was open over doing it. He thought it was the right thing to do. I did not. He calls people names, something I often find offensive, but do not think for a moment that leaders of Congress in both parties do not do similar things behind closed doors. Washington politicians know how to posture perfectly, and Trump does not bother to posture at all.
Biden is also offensive. His shocking allegation amid the 2012 campaign that Republicans under Mitt Romney wanted to place African Americans “back in chains” was one of the worst and lowest race baiting statements ever made, not to mention it was blatantly untrue. The media mainly gave him a pass over this. I will not. There is a lot about his conflicts of interest that we do not know because the media declines to dig into them.
Is Biden, who stated he never talked about Ukrainian energy firm Burisma with his son, lying about never meeting with its officials? Biden lied about receiving his full scholarship to law school and made false claims that he finished in the top half of his class when he finished near the bottom. He lied about his arrest in South Africa. He made false claims over pinning a Silver Star on a Navy captain despite claiming that it was the truth.
Biden is weak. He will not stand up to the left as he changed his positions with abortion and crime. He will not stand up to China. Given the fact that he conducted only one or two public events a day before the coronavirus, I have doubts in his ability to endure the burden of the presidency.
Democrats are now moving hard and fast to the left. Biden is not from the left wing of the party, but when liberals send him legislation to ban fossil fuels, create a national public option for health care, raise our taxes even higher, and redistribute income in a way that has never been done before, no one should count on his veto. He will not promise to veto packing the Supreme Court, or even turning Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia into blue states so Democrats can move onto packing the Senate.
Say what you will about Trump violating norms, he has never tried to redo the balance of power by irregular means. But his policies will last decades, no matter or, perhaps thanks to, his personality. His promises to confront China, appoint conservatives to the judiciary, and secure peace deals for Israel and the Arab neighbors are worthy of support. His policies over the economy did more to assist low income Americans with pay raises, which reduced the wealth gap far more than any idea to redistribute income. He helped people with the actions conducted in the private sector.
My choice in the 2020 general election is between a personally offensive outsider who signs good policies and a professionally offensive politician who will turn bad ideas into law. This is why I will vote for Trump.
Ari Fleischer served as the White House press secretary for President Bush from 2001 to 2003 and is now president for Ari Fleischer Communications.
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