Yet another prominent Republican has turned his back on his party in protest of nominee Donald Trump. Richard J. Cross III, a longtime Republican speechwriter says he will absolutely not vote Trump; he might even vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He is known best for writing the address delivered by the mother of one of the Americans killed in the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy complex in Benghazi, Libya.
The shamelessly exploitative speech had the audacity to lay the personal blame for the Benghazi deaths on then-Secretary of State Clinton, perpetuating the absurd conspiracy that has grown into a right-wing obsession despite her exoneration by six years of Congressional investigation. The New York Times called the speech “the weaponization of grief,” and it was one of the most disgraceful expressions of partisan vitriol during a convention that was characterized by extremism and hatred.
Cross has been a lifelong Republican, but he sees that this race as unique. He writes:
The central question in 2016: Are Muslim Americans an equal and welcome member of the American constituency?
For me, the answer is a clear “yes.” Now, the question becomes: Can we come together and find a positive solution to the issue of illegal immigration, just like President Reagan and congressional Democrats were able to achieve? The answer to that is, “we must.”
To choose otherwise embraces fear, as Donald Trump has chosen to do. Fear sometimes wins you elections, but it doesn’t create jobs, build schools, reduce crime or improve the quality of life for all citizens. Great political leaders help us transcend our fears.
Regardless, the reality is, I cannot vote for Donald Trump. I could never vote for Donald Trump.
This damning critique hones in on the crux of this election season: Trump’s policies to ‘make American great again’ are not designed to make anything better, only to keep people out. Cross describes the intense discomfort he feels admitting that he might vote for a Democrat, however grudgingly. “But the only prospect more terrifying than voting for Hillary Clinton is not voting for her.”
But it also illustrates what deceitful hypocrites these Republicans truly are. It highlights what an appalling lack of moral fortitude they truly hold, how threads of acceptable discrimination are woven into the fabric of the conservative movement.
Why should we applaud Mr.Cross for deciding now, that he is against the exclusionary and xenophobic rhetoric that has been the centerpiece of Trump’s entire campaign? Why should we praise him for waiting until Trump insulted a Muslim war hero to make him decide he had gone too far, even though Trump declared his intention to ban Muslims from entering the United States months ago? What truly prompted him to turn his tail on his party?
Is it because he smells defeat in the air? So that when the proverbial petard the Republican Party is currently hoisting finally detonates and the conservative movement picks up the pieces after Trump’s inevitable collapse at the voting booth, he can proudly hold up this op-ed and say, “look, I denounced him! I’m not a racist!” We know the truth, Mr. Cross. You are joining the hundreds of other Republican cowards who suddenly are contemplating the consequences of a Trump defeat and of being tainted forever by your tacit endorsement of white supremacy. And we will remember.
h/t to Marissa
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.