Donald Trump has just won an endorsement from the last Republican you’d expect. Jon Huntsman, who has regularly been referred to as a RINO (Republican in name only) has just thrown his support behind the GOP frontrunner.
Huntsman’s endorsement seemed to be more pragmatic than enthusiastic. It seemed to center around party unity. Huntsman said:
“We’ve had enough intraparty fighting. Now it’s time to stich together a winning coalition.”
This raises fears that Republicans may be growing more willing to warm to Trump as he gets closer to winning the nomination. Huntsman did not offer Trump the same enthusiastic praise that hard-liners have. But many of his comments seemed delusional and illogical. He went on to say:
“It’s been clear from almost the beginning that Donald Trump has the ability to assemble a nontraditional bloc of supporters…The ability to cut across traditional party boundaries-like ’80, ’92’ and 2008-will be key, and Trump is much better positioned to achieve that.”
If by “nontraditional bloc of supporters” he means even more angry, violent and racist than before, than he may have a point.
But cutting across party lines? In other words, Trump can appeal to white racists on all sides of the political spectrum, including those who are Democrats and Independents. Is this the “winning coalition” Huntsman is referring to?
This bares a stark contrast to the Huntsman who ran in 2012, who was openly critical of the Republican party. Back then, after dropping out of the race, he said:
“I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican Convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States.”
So this was what he had in mind? Then again, to be fair, building a wall on the Mexican border and putting Muslims in internment camps are certainly big, bold ideas.
One can hope that Huntsman, a former co-chair of the bipartisan advocacy group No Labels, believes that Trump doesn’t mean any of what he says. One can hope that Huntsman expects Trump to start acting more presidential and pursue a more realistic policy agenda. But his endorsement of a candidate running on a platform of racism and demagoguery is still a disgrace to the principles Huntsman appeared to once stand for.
One thing is for sure: a lot of liberals and moderate Republicans alike, including many of Huntsman’s former colleagues, have just lost a lot of respect for him.
See video of Huntsman insulting Trump back in December below:
Featured image via The Hill