John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Five Reasons Why I Support Donald Trump and Think Other Republicans Should Too

Posted on May 5, 2016


(Originally appeared in the WSJ)

Now that John Kasich has dropped out, it has become a pretty easy choice to support Donald Trump in November.

Many friends inside and outside the Beltway disagree with my conclusion. Some of them might be persuadable, so I am explaining five reasons for my thinking:

1. I am a Republican and will support the Republican candidate. A presidential campaign is bigger than any one person. I am a Republican in part because I believe that the free market is better than socialism, that governance is best with some deference to local and state sensibilities, and that taxpayers should be respected and their tax dollars spent wisely. A Trump administration would be chock-full of Republicans who share my values, far more so than a Hillary Clinton administration, which will be under exceptionally strong pressure from the Bernie Sanders crowd to appoint like-minded socialists.

2. I believe Washington needs to change. In more than 25 years here, I have never seen things worse. Mr. Trump offers to change the ideological culture, something I think is sorely needed. The Republican Party and the conservative movement are self-destructing. I can see no other conclusion when a faction of Republicans repeatedly attacks the Chamber of Commerce or even The Wall Street Journal editorial board for not being philosophically pure enough. The Republican Party needs fewer battles over ideology and more accomplishments. As Mr. Trump put it: Sure, I am a conservative but this country needs help.

3. I like that he is politically incorrect. Recent initiatives and restrictions on college campuses illustrate the contortions this country is making regarding free speech, and these efforts trouble many of us. Democracy can’t survive when people aren’t permitted to tell others what they think or how they feel. I am uncomfortable with some things Donald Trump has said, but I will defend his right to say them. And I believe that Mr. Trump is saying what a lot of people think. That’s why he won primary after primary, even after he said things that I consider stupid or offensive.

4. He’s not holier-than-thou. Some of my conservative friends are horrified that Mr. Trump has been married three times. I sympathize with those struggling to explain this to their children. I also respect that he hasn’t hidden his past and that he isn’t a hypocrite. He wouldn’t be the first presidential nominee, or president, to have had a wandering eye. That hasn’t stopped many from respecting those past presidents. Our society seems to put politicians on pedestals only to cheer when they fall. Maybe we should be more realistic about the humans we put in public office.

5. The country needs a leader who understands business and the business of politics. After nearly eight years of Barack Obama, whose work in academia does not, to my mind, count as the private sector, the economy has just stumbled along. Hillary Clinton has similarly dedicated her life to government (also not counting the Clinton Foundation as the private sector). Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who has a track record of running a business? Mr. Trump is no stranger to how politics works either, having been on the other side, trying to influence the process. If we want to create private-sector jobs in this country, we should put in charge somebody who has some experience doing it.

I know some people, including my friends, will remain unpersuaded by these reasons, and I know that Donald Trump has a lot of work to do to convince many people that he is fit to be president. In the coming months, we will see if he does the work–and how many people are open to the idea.

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