The Corner

‘The Agony of the Trump Endorsers’

I wrote today at Politico about Trump endorsers and semi-endorsers struggling with the consequence of their choice:
If Trump didn’t call Curiel a Mexican unworthy of hearing his case, you’d almost wonder what had knocked the candidate off his game. But the Republican establishment seems to have believed that it had an implicit pact (unbeknownst to Trump) that he could have the party so long as he didn’t embarrass it too badly.
 
The breach in this imaginary agreement has occasioned epic ducking and covering. The new equivalent of medieval scholastic philosophers are the Republican senators insisting on heretofore unnoticed distinctions between different levels of support for a presidential candidate.
 
Sen. Kelly Ayotte is voting for Trump (“at this point”), but she isn’t endorsing him. It would seem that saying she will vote for him constitutes an endorsement, but desperate times call for desperate evasions. Sen. Ron Johnson falls back on a similarly minute distinction: He’s supporting, but not endorsing, Trump. Somewhere there is a Ph.D candidate in political science mulling a dissertation on when support is or is not an endorsement.
 
Then, there’s Marco Rubio. Earlier this year, the Florida senator called Trump, among other choice things, a con artist and solemnly vowed to travel the country in his truck fighting the tycoon’s takeover of the Republican Party. Then, he disappeared after he dropped out of the race, only to re-emerge and say that he’d support Trump and be happy to give a speech boosting him at the convention. This was soon downgraded into a willingness to give a speech at the convention, although not about Trump. And now he says he warned us all about the dangers of Trump. It’s entirely possible Rubio will come full circle to a non-endorsement, should the winds continue to shift in that direction (#courage).

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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