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New York Times editorial board declares Trump ‘unfit to lead’ | Donald Trump


New York Times editorial board declares Trump ‘unfit to lead’ | Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Board calls Trump ‘a chilling choice against this national moment’ days before Republican national convention

Thu 11 Jul 2024 15.09 BST

The editorial board of the New York Times has declared that “Donald Trump is unfit to lead” in an urgently worded article published just ahead of the Republican convention, where Trump will once again be formally named the party’s choice for president.

Noting that the former president and convicted felon has now become the Republican nominee three times in eight years, the board said: “A once great political party now serves the interests of one man, a man as demonstrably unsuited for the office of president as any to run in the long history of the republic, a man whose values, temperament, ideas and language are directly opposed to so much of what has made this country great.”

It called the selection of Trump “a chilling choice against this national moment”.

On Monday the paper’s editorial board also made Joe Biden the subject of a piece, in which it insisted that “that the best hope for Democrats to retain the White House is for him to step aside”, given that the president “continued to appear as a man in decline” following Biden’s disastrous debate against Trump in Atlanta last month.

But the latest piece focuses squarely on the danger posed by Trump, 78, and questions about his own cognitive fitness.

Many voters, the Times argued, were “frustrated, even despondent”. On Thursday, a new survey from the Washington Post, ABC News and Ipsos said 67% of US adults (and 58% of Democrats) wanted Biden to step aside, while 50% of US adults (but only 11% of Republicans) said the same about Trump.

Saluting Republicans that it said “pursued electoral power in service to solutions for such problems”, such as Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, the Times board went on to say that “too many Republicans set aside their concerns about Mr Trump because of his positions on immigration, trade and taxes. But the stakes of this election … are more foundational: what qualities matter most in America’s president and commander-in-chief”.

Trump was convicted on 34 criminal charges concerning hush-money payments to a porn star that a jury agreed were designed to interfere with the 2016 election. He was originally slated to be sentenced today, with the possibility of jail time, but after the supreme court ruled that presidents have some immunity from prosecution the judge has delayed the sentencing until September to review the case.

Trump faces 54 other criminal charges, concerning election subversion and retention of classified documents, and in civil cases has been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for business fraud and millions more in a defamation suit arising from a rape allegation a judge called “substantially true”.

His attempts to overturn the 2020 election culminated in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Nine deaths, about 1,300 arrests and hundreds of convictions are linked to the riot. Trump was impeached a second time for inciting an insurrection but Republican senators acquitted him, leaving him free to run for office. Trump has promised to pardon rioters.

The Times editorial board said these events and other indicators – which it categorised as moral fitness, principled leadership, character, a president’s words and the rule of law – indicated that Trump had “shown a character unworthy of the responsibilities of the presidency.

“He has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the constitution, the rule of law and the American people. Instead of a cogent vision for the country’s future, Mr Trump is animated by a thirst for political power: to use the levers of government to advance his interests, satisfy his impulses and exact retribution against those who he thinks have wronged him.

“He is, quite simply, unfit to lead.”

It added that while Democrats “are rightly engaged in their own debate about whether President Biden is the right person to carry the party’s nomination into the election, given widespread concerns among voters about his age-related fitness”, the importance of that debate was down to “legitimate concerns that Mr Trump may present a danger to the country, its strength, security and national character – and that a compelling Democratic alternative is the only thing that would prevent his return to power.

It said it was a “national tragedy that the Republicans have failed to … [set] aside their longstanding values” and ignoring what former Trump officials “have described as his systematic dishonesty, corruption, cruelty and incompetence”, and urged American voters to “perform a simple act of civic duty in an election year: listen to what Mr Trump is saying, pay attention to what he did as president and allow yourself to truly inhabit what he has promised to do if returned to office”.

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