Trump: Unqualified to be commander in chief?
“Donald Trump has to be the most dangerously ignorant major-party presidential candidate in history,” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. That much became crystal clear last week when the Republican nominee and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton took part in back-to-back interviews on board the USS Intrepid, as part of NBC’s “Commanderin-Chief Forum.” It was an opportunity for the two to show off their national security credentials—but in Trump’s case, it was a total disaster, as he failed “to give the slightest indication he knew anything about the issues he was supposed to be talking about.” The real estate mogul once again falsely asserted—without being challenged by host Matt Lauer—that he had opposed the Iraq War from the start. He then insisted that the U.S. should have “taken the oil” in Iraq, even though committing that act of piracy would have required keeping tens of thousands of soldiers there permanently. But Trump’s most “disqualifying” moment, said Jonathan Tobin in CommentaryMagazine.com, was his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian strongman, he insisted, “has been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.” When reminded of Putin’s many crimes, from the invasion of Ukraine to the murders of journalists and political opponents, Trump was nonplussed. “I mean, you can say, ‘Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing,’” said Trump, “[but] the man has very strong control over a country.”
It’s no surprise Trump finds “plenty to admire in the Russian leader,” said Jeet Heer in NewRepublic.com. Putin, of course, is an autocrat who doesn’t need the approval of Congress or anyone else. When Trump talks about his own presidency—“Everyone will do what I say, trust me”—it’s clear “Putin is his model of his leadership.” Not incidentally, “Putin has been a terrible leader for his country,” said Michael Cohen in The Boston Globe. His land grab in Crimea was a desperate bid to make Russia look strong, even as its one-dimensional economy was crumbling because of low oil prices. Russia is now in a deep recession, made worse by the sanctions Putin arrogantly brought down on his own people.
Trump sure does sound like he’d be “a patsy” for Putin to manipulate, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. But despite her ample foreign policy experience, Clinton isn’t much of an alternative. As secretary of state, she presided over “the global disorder” that broke out on Obama’s watch. She “favored intervention in Libya, but then she abandoned the country to chaos.” Clinton also compromised national security by exposing classified information to hackers through her private email server. Trump may be unpredictable and inconsistent, said Publius Decius Mus in the Claremont Review of Books, but at least he has shown the right instincts against “trade giveaways and endless, pointless, winless war.” A Hillary presidency, by contrast, will be “pedal to the metal” on Obama’s entire far-left agenda. For conservatives, “2016 is the Flight 93 election: Charge the cockpit or you die.” You may die anyway—but with Trump, at least you can “take your chances.”
Hillary is “an ethical wreck,” said Peter Wehner in RealClear Politics.com, but electing Trump would pose “a genuine threat to the well-being of America.” Throughout this campaign, “he has shown himself to be erratic, inconsistent, unstable, unprincipled, vindictive, and narcissistic.” This is a man who mocks disabled reporters and the mother of a fallen U.S. soldier, admires foreign dictators like Putin and Kim Jong Un, and slanders our country as weak and pathetic. If elected, his isolationism, hostility to free trade, and white-identity nativism would “fundamentally redefine the Republican Party in ways that are antithetical to conservatism.”
If that isn’t reason enough to fear a Trump presidency, said Max Boot in USAToday.com, we saw proof last week that he’s “made no effort to educate himself about the requirements of being commander in chief.” Trump said he had a “secret” but “very good” plan to defeat ISIS, which is laughable. He attacked America’s nonpartisan generals and intelligence professionals, calling them “embarrassing for our country,” and suggested he’d replace them with stooges of his own picking. Last week Trump even praised Putin and disparaged America and its president in an interview broadcast on RT, “the Kremlin-run TV channel”—an act bordering on treason. At the beginning of his campaign, Republican leaders excused Trump’s nonsensical comments as “rookie” mistakes. But a year later, Trump “sounds as ignorant and deluded” as he did when he rode down the golden escalator at Trump Tower to announce his run for the White House. “Only now, he is a lot closer to having life-and-death power over hundreds of millions of people.”
■ This year marks the first time that high school freshmen are learning about the 9/11 attacks as a historical event that happened before they were born. Chicago Tribune
■ Earth has lost 10 percent of its wilderness since the early 1990s—an area twice the size of Alaska, according to a_new study_in_Current Biology. In all, we’ve lost roughly 1.2 million square miles of wilderness in recent decades, leaving 12 million square miles still intact. Vox.com
■ This year’s Miss America contest included its first openly lesbian contestant: Erin O’Flaherty as Miss Missouri. O’Flaherty, 23, is working to promote the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to preventing suicide in LGBT youth. She said it is “awesome” to represent the LGBT community, but that she hopes people will “remember me for how I did the job, and not for one quality.” USA Today
■ Voting in the 2016 presidential election has officially begun. The first absentee ballots were mailed out in the battleground state of North Carolina late last week, marking the start of early mail voting in 27_states across the nation. Another 37 states have some form of early in-person voting.
The Wall Street Journal
■ Exposure to the toxins in the ruins of the World Trade Center has taken its toll on 9/11 rescue workers. A new study found 11 percent more cancer cases among the workers than in the general New York State population between 2007 and 2011. New York Post