Cal Thomas – Campaigning with integrity

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Commentator Cal Thomas says our preview of the fall presidential campaign that he saw, did not encourage him.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: President Trump’s return to the campaign trail last weekend provided a great opportunity to speak words of healing to a divided nation. It’s too bad we got a toxic stream of consciousness instead. 

His lengthy remarks were full of self-justifications and salted with crude language. He called one person “a son of a [blank]” and frequently used other four-letter words. Let’s hear his evangelical supporters defend that language.

I have heard all the explanations. It’s who he is. His policies are more important. He’s God’s chosen instrument.

During one hour and 45 tortuous minutes, President Trump spent 30 minutes talking about his commencement address at West Point. He rightly called out some in the media for claiming he appeared to be sick because of the way he held his water glass. He said he was trying to be careful with his “expensive” silk tie. 

Then he demonstrated how he slowly walked down a ramp after the address because he said the bottoms of his shoes—and the ramp—were slippery.

How does any of this matter? I was embarrassed for him and for his smaller-than-predicted audience, which worshipfully applauded. But I sensed a little less enthusiasm.

Yes, many of those supposedly “one million” ticket requesters were probably reluctant to show up because of nonstop media scare tactics about the coronavirus. But another factor may have been the president’s predictability. We’ve heard versions of this speech before.

How many more times must we hear about his jaw-boning Boeing into lowering the price for two new presidential jets? Don’t we already know about closing the borders to travelers from China? And why the racial slur about the coronavirus? Did he think that was cute?

A president running for a second term must stake out his vision for the next four years. Other than a list of 25 judges from which he promises to choose for federal benches, including the Supreme Court, there was nothing about what he would accomplish in a second term.

Political attacks are always part of any campaign, but this president makes it more about personality and less about policy differences with Democrats. He only made passing references to what a Biden administration would do, even though there’s plenty to criticize. 

President Trump should take a lesson from Ronald Reagan, who frequently referred to Democrats as “our friends on the other side.” He never diminished their value but instead argued why conservative ideas are better.

The presidency is an honor and privilege that has been granted to only 45 men in our history. With great privilege comes great responsibility. We are better than this. We deserve better than this.

The president’s speech doesn’t make Joe Biden more appealing. His remarks, though, were unappealing, unattractive, and in the future unwatchable.

I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) In this June 20, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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2 comments on Cal Thomas – Campaigning with integrity

  1. Cal, I am a long-time World subscriber and and admirer of your commentaries, but I think this one, though defensible, was unwise. The current environment, with Marxists growling at the gate, is no time to weaken the hands of the defenders. I’m sorry you didn’t like Trump’s Tulsa speech. Yes, it could have been better. There have been many other speeches when Trump met all your righteous requirements: unification, hope, one nation under God, in God we trust, every life is a sacred gift of God, we all bleed the same red American blood. Trump recently made an inspiring, unifying, patriotic ad that the mainstream media would not run! Taking one speech out of that larger context is unfair.
    Cal, we are fighting for the survival of our union. You could have just said nothing rather than weaken the resolve of evangelicals who must turn out in large numbers to vote against socialism in a few months. All you did was puff up your own self-righteousness in today’s commentary, talking about how miffed you felt that he was not Reaganesque. Trump is not Reagan. He is Trump. And this is not the 1980s; it is the 2020s. If Biden (a socialist puppet) wins, and the AOC types get him to pass their platform, I am going to blame the Christian leaders who speak like you did today when churches suffer persecution, Christian entrepreneurs are forced out of business, our cities burn, and a new generation of radicals never hears the truth about America’s founders. I know that sounds harsh, but consider: criticizing the Czar (who also was far from perfect) when Lenin is entering the city is not strategically wise! When the choice is between Claudius or Nero, vote Claudius. When the choice is between Jehu and Ahab, vote Jehu.
    Christian leaders need to stop expecting Trump to be a saint. We didn’t elect a saint. We elected a Patton. Let him keep this union together by encouraging him, not adding to the daily abuse he gets from the Left. I don’t think any other conservative, not even Ted Cruz, could have endured the incessant vitriol Trump gets: fake impeachment, Russia hoax, a swamp coup and all the rest. I urge you, don’t worry so much about his personal style. Look at what a man does, not how he speaks. The list of things Trump has accomplished for religious liberty, the value of life and judicial textualism (200 federal judges) is long and impressive – look at the list Tony Perkins has collected. In addition, Trump has brought patriotism back after the disastrous policies of Obama, intercepted disastrous social experimentation in the military, has defeated ISIS, supported Israel and improved the lives of minorities and all Americans immensely with his economic policies and directives to scale back freedom-crushing big government regulations, and just recently spared millions of lives with quick action on the coronavirus. Can we major on majors and not quibble about some of his words?
    I know you feel justified in your criticisms. I even agree with some of them. The problem is with the strategic wisdom of saying things like that, when America is hyper-polarized with rioting and looting, and one of the most pivotal elections in our history is just around the corner. I urge you to give Trump some leash. He’s not perfect. Nobody bats 1000, but he has kept his promises and accomplished much good—arguably much more tangible good than any President, including Reagan. Consider the alternative if Leftists take the White House; we will not recognize America in short order, and Christians will be among the hardest hit. So please, hold your tongue, grab your musket and help defend our country from mad-dog radicals coming in to destroy us. Can you save your complaints till after the election? If he wins, you can speak more freely. If he loses, and the totalitarians take over, you may lose your tongue entirely. I’m that serious. You and I both know what totalitarians do. They must be stopped before they gain power. This is ideological warfare. God has given you a voice for these trying times; please use it strategically and wisely. Thanks for listening, and God bless you for your long career of speaking up for Christian values.

  2. Heidi Cunningham says:

    While I appreciate many of Cal Thomas’ contributions, this piece lacks the same etiquette that ironically many who oppose President Trump accuse him of lacking. As an evangelical supporter of President Trump, I will not defend his salty language. I will say that I have heard many Christians use salty language in my lifetime, and I have not approved of that either. What I’m disappointed about in Cal Thomas’ commentary is that he has fallen into the trap of belittling other Christians who are faced with difficult voting decisions in a complex world. He isn’t attacking President Trump’s policy but rather his person and all persons who support him. As the Supreme Court once again legislated from the bench in June Medical Services vs. Russo, overturning law established by a bipartisan body, we see both of President Trumps Supreme Court appointees filing dissenting opinions. Cal Thomas, we can finger point over language and belittle fellow Christians, or we can look at policy. I for one have a litmus test in voting. I will not vote for a candidate that supports abortion. That is uncompromising. If possible, I also look for a candidate that stands against appointing judges that legislate from the bench. I stand against radical socialist movements that undermine freedom, and I stand against those who bully others. Do we as a church not see our contribution to the anger and hatred in society when we belittle our President and other Christians? Let us as the body of Christ argue policy without attacking people.

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