Patti Davis, the daughter of the late president Ronald Reagan, was never a Republican despite her pedigree. Now she’s holding to task the party that reveres her father as a conservative icon for invoking her father’s name in its support of the current occupant of the White House.
In an open letter to the GOP published in The Washington Post today, Davis explains that although she was unable to escape the constant presence of the Republican Party while growing up, she has become increasingly upset by the party’s silence in the face of President Trump’s unacceptable undermining of presidential norms.
“You went from an annoying presence at the dinner table to a powerful tornado, lifting up my family and depositing us in the world of politics, which no one ever escapes. I know it’s not completely your fault. My father’s passion for America, his commitment to try to make a difference in the country and the world, and his gentle yet powerful command over crowds that gathered to hear him speak made his ascent to the presidency all but inevitable. He would have gotten there one way or another; it just happened to be as a Republican,” Davis writes.
“You have claimed his legacy, exalted him as an icon of conservatism and used the quotes of his that serve your purpose at any given moment. Yet at this moment in America’s history when the democracy to which my father pledged himself and the Constitution that he swore to uphold, and did faithfully uphold, are being degraded and chipped away at by a sneering, irreverent man who traffics in bullying and dishonesty, you stay silent,” Reagan’s daughter said in a binting indictment of the current version of the GOP.
Davis goes on to list a litany of Trump’s greatest offenses, from his immigration policies to his kowtowing to foreign dictators to his ignorance of the constitution to what she considers the president’s greatest failure — his support of white nationalists.
With the Republican party’s silence in the face of such egregious violations of presidential decorum, Davis lays out her expectations of the members of the GOP quite clearly.
“Those of us who are not Republicans still have a right to expect you to act in a principled, moral and, yes, even noble way. Our democracy is in trouble, and everyone who has been elected to office has an obligation to save it. Maybe you’re frightened of Trump — that idea has been floated. I don’t quite understand what’s frightening about an overgrown child who resorts to name-calling, but if that is the case, then my response is: You are grown men and women. Get over it,” she admonmishes.
Before getting to here core demand that cynically manipulative Republicans cease using her father’s name in vain while supporting Trump, Davis provides a further indictment of the current president.
“My father called America “the shining city on a hill.” Trump sees America as another of his possessions that he can slap his name on. A president is not supposed to own America. He or she is supposed to serve the American people,” she says in a srtinging rebuke to Trump’s narcissism.
Davis’s conclusion is a powerful message that Republicans would do well to consider carefully coming as it does from the daughter of Trump’s sainted predecessor.
“Trump has been wounding our democracy for the past two years. If he is reelected for another term, it’s almost a given that America will not survive — at least not as the country the Founding Fathers envisioned, and not as the idealistic experiment they built using a Constitution designed to protect democracy and withstand tyranny.”
“My father knew we were fragile. He said: ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.’”
“So, to the Republican Party that holds tightly to my father’s legacy — if you are going to stand silent as America is dismantled and dismembered, as democracy is thrown onto the ash heap of yesterday, shame on you. But don’t use my father’s name on the way down.”
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