The obvious need is among Republicans. In the last week, Donald Trump has renewed his campaign of insult against John McCain, proving that the lowest place on earth isn’t the Mariana Trench — it’s the president’s soul. Yet with the notable exception of Mitt Romney, no Republican of national stature has done much more than clear his throat by way of objection, as if the president were no worse than a bumptious uncle passing gas at a Thanksgiving table.
It won’t do. What Trump said wasn’t rude. It was grotesque. It didn’t just besmirch the memory of the honored dead. It assaulted the feelings of the grieving living. It didn’t just transgress bounds of ordinary decency. It blew a hole (another one) in our already shattered expectations of presidential behavior. It showed that Trump isn’t merely unsuited to leadership. He’s unfitted for manhood.
This would be the moment for a rising Republican leader — Nikki Haley comes to mind — to say, in clear and categorical terms, that is not us. She could give a speech in Sedona, Ariz., noting how John McCain’s values represented the Republican Party at its best: courage and freedom; faith and forgiveness; individualism and engagement.