Political strategist Ana Navarro is a member of the GOP, but she has no patience for her fellow Republicans who won't stand up to Donald Trump as his bigoted words and actions multiply seemingly by the hour.
The criticism is coming from inside the house — or at least, that “big tent” many in the Republican Party have claimed they wish to build.
When an elder statesman of the party compares Trump to notorious segregationist George Wallace, it ought to be a clear sign that Trump is not worth the breath it takes to speak those defenses. Yet some of them are still at it, even at the tail end of a Friday full of horribly retrogressive actions.
As parts of the country were preparing for a severe hurricane, Trump made it clear he cares more about border enforcement than saving lives, offering a heartless “Good luck to everybody” as he headed off to Camp David.
But that was far from the end of his black-letter day.
Following up on his reckless Twitter announcement in late July that his administration would reverse President Barack Obama’s lifting of the ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military, Trump signed a directive to begin reinstating discrimination in the armed forces.
And proving the earlier rumors were correct, Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the vehemently racist Arizona sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt for violating a court order to cease his racial profiling practices.
The pardon was met with swift condemnation from many Democratic lawmakers, as well as some of their Republican colleagues, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, who called into question Trump’s ostensible “respect of rule of law” by proceeding with the pardon as he did.
After all of this, in just a single day, it is difficult to understand how some in the GOP can continue to stand behind Trump and to, at least implicitly, support his dangerous and spiteful decisions.
As Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro put it bluntly: “Shame on Republicans!”
On a CNN panel grappling with the multifaceted mess that was the evening news, Navarro — a consistent vocal critic of Trump from within the party — did not hold back in her disapproval of Trump, or of Republicans “who don’t have the spine to condemn him strongly.”
Navarro noted that, while some in the Cuban American population may side with Trump, “the vast majority of Latinos do not like Donald Trump, do not feel well-represented by Donald Trump, feel antagonized by Donald Trump.”
The pardon itself is a major issue for many Latinos, because of Arpaio’s years of racial profiling against their community, but it goes beyond that.
“When we take a look at the last ten days, the last two weeks” of Trump’s presidency, he has “stood with neo-Nazis” and attempted to draw equivalence between them and those opposing them. Add to that the directive on banning transgender Americans from the military and the pardon of Arpaio, and Navarro had one clear message.
“Shame on him! Shame on him! And shame on Republicans who think differently and don’t have the spine to condemn him strongly. He is not only ruining the party — he is ruining the country, dividing us and pitting American versus American. So all those Republicans that have fought for years to make the tent bigger: You are standing by, idly and silently, while he kicks so many out of the tent.”
Stephen Moore, a Republican economist and commentator, tried to insist that it was “preposterous” to say Trump had taken the side of the neo-Nazis following the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I mean, that’s just a crazy statement,” Moore continued, with Navarro challenging him immediately.
“Come on, Steve, you know better than this! You’ve got such a huge heart, and such a huge brain,” she declared, as Moore rattled off talking-point defenses.
He continued, “I spent a lot of time with Donald Trump, I went to his rallies. He is not a Nazi” — a phrase which, if one feels the need to utter it, ought to give one immediate pause.
Or as Navarro put it, “I don’t know what they’re putting in your water.”
When Moore insisted that Trump had denounced the white supremacists, Navarro shot back with the fact that Trump had said there were good people among that group at the riot.
“Do you think that good people would have been in a protest that looked like a Ku Klux Klan protest without the hoods? Come on, Steve!”
Some Republicans, like Moore, may still be willing to bend over backwards to excuse or gloss over Trump’s horrific words and deeds.
But others, like Navarro, are not having it for one moment.
And as Trump continues to steamroll over political norms, the rules of law, and basic human decency, that big tent is going to keep emptying out, as more and more Americans want nothing to do with his hateful ideology.