Former Trump campaign strategist David Urban dismissed concerns about the ethical nightmare that Trump embodies because Americans aren't 'asking for the president to be a moral leader.'
Trump kicked off Sunday by venting his petulant rage over former FBI Director James Comey’s criticisms of him. And that was before the ABC News interview in which Comey called Trump “morally unfit” to hold his office. But according to Trump’s former campaign strategist David Urban, morality has nothing to do with being president.
Urban actually tried to put American voters on the hook for that galling claim.
“I don’t think Americans, when they went to the polls in the election, were looking for a moral leader,” Urban told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I don’t think they’re asking for the president to be a moral leader.”
And he offered a bizarre charge of hypocrisy, too. Urban claimed that “the media” cannot simultaneously call out Trump’s dearth of morals while expressing concerns about Mike Pence’s fundamentalist ideology.
“The media takes great umbrage any time the vice president talks about any of that,” he said. “They make fun of the vice president for his morals.”
He insisted that “you can’t have it both ways.”
Pushing back on misogynist and anti-LGBTQ beliefs and policies is hardly “making fun” of Pence’s religion. It’s highlighting the damage done to vulnerable people by implementing a far-right interpretation of Scripture in governance.
And there is no “both ways” quandary between wanting a president who is not endlessly mired in scandal after scandal while also wanting a vice president who views all of his constituents as equal people worthy of equal treatment.
It’s especially rich for Urban to insist that voters don’t care about having a “moral leader” in their president. His comments came after right-wing Christian evangelist Franklin Graham heaped unearned praise on Trump for being someone who “understands prayer.”
Trump’s loyalists ought to at least get their messaging straight. But this dissonance is part of a pattern. Evangelical leaders have already made it clear that it’s not Trump’s transgressions that concern them, but rather the political fallout.
Further, the judgment of Trump as morally unfit is not based on personal dislike. Someone who potentially colluded with a hostile foreign adversary to upend our democracy indeed has no claim, moral or otherwise, to leading that democracy.
Trump’s cronies want to dismiss valid criticisms like Comey’s by saying that Trump wasn’t elected to be a moral leader.
But when his scandals and rage appear to drive his reckless governing moves, questioning his moral and ethical fitness is appropriate and necessary.