Mark Zell’s attack on Donald Trump is misguided and misleading at best

In today’s Times of Israel, Mark Zell spoke out as the “Head of the Republican Party in Israel” in order to criticize the candidacy of Donald Trump and pronounce that Mr. Trump can’t be and won’t be the next President of the United States.  Only one thing is certain.  Mr. Zell is not the “Head of the Republican Party in Israel,” since there is no such person. He is a co-chair of Republicans Abroad in Israel, as am I.  Our organization’s role is to support the Republican party’s candidates for office and to facilitate American citizens who live in Israel in exercising their constitutional right to vote.  We do not represent the Republican Party.  We represent American citizens in Israel who support the Republican party.  The best way to be certain that Mr. Zell has no official role in the Republican party is to recognize that no official of the Republican party would ever disparage a legitimate candidate for the Republican nomination during the primary process.

My purpose in writing this op-ed is not to support Donald Trump’s candidacy.  I have expressed a public preference through my activities and my wallet for a different primary candidate.  However, if the Republican primary electorate nominates Mr. Trump, I will most certainly support his candidacy.  Moreover, Republicans Abroad in Israel will most certainly support his candidacy.  I know that because I served as our organization’s finance chair in the last three Presidential election cycles.  In each cycle, the number of American citizens in Israel casting a vote to send a Republican to the White House has increased by 50% or more.

Zell has pronounced that Mr. Trump “can’t” and “won’t” be President of the United States.  He most certainly can be President.  He is a natural born citizen.  He is over 35 years of age.  He has been a resident of the United States for more than 14 years.  Those are the only constitutional requirements.  In terms of qualifications, Mr. Trump has been far more than a “salesman,” despite Zell’s dismissive comments.  He has built a business empire whose successes have substantially outweighed its failures. He has created employment for tens of thousands and knows what it takes to to get Americans off welfare and into the workforce.

Whether or not I personally like Mr. Trump’s style, he knows how to function as an executive, which is the primary job of the US President.  We do not need the US President to jet around the globe and collect Nobel Prizes.  We need the US President to exert managerial leadership over a Federal apparatus whose pieces are increasingly out of control.  We need a US President whom Americans can believe in and believe that he understands their challenges.  Current polls suggest that Mr. Trump passes this bar for a substantial number of Republican primary voters.  Whether he can turn that into a majority, only time will tell.  Similarly, only time will tell for whom I will cast my primary vote, since it’s not possible to know which candidates will be on the ballot by the time my state primary comes around.

While I am certain that Mr. Trump can be President, I am equally certain that Zell has no basis for saying the Mr. Trump won’t be President.  I served President Bush in several White House roles, his father before him, and President Reagan as well.  At this point in each President’s campaign, there were naysayers who were every bit as certain as Zell that Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Bush were unqualified to be and incapable of being President.  Hopefully, Zell does not mean that if Mr. Trump is nominated he plans to support Mrs. Clinton.

Zell’s job is to encourage Republican citizens who live in Israel to vote in their respective state primaries.  Our website,, has instructions for doing just that.  His job is to encourage Republicans who live in Israel, along with all American voters who live in Israel, to support the Republican candidate for President.  Mr. Trump’s job on the other hand, is to convince us that he is the most worthy candidate to run for President on our party’s behalf.  I wish him the best, as I do the candidate I personally support and all of his opponents.  That’s how democracy works and that’s how the Republican party rolls.

About the Author
The author is a physician, policy expert, and thought leader in healthcare transformation and digital health. He has served as Professor of Medicine and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities and been commissioned by US Presidents Clinton and Bush to serve in several roles within the Executive Office of the President focused on health policy and national security. In September 2014 he and his family made Aliyah to Zichron Yaacov.
Related Topics
Related Posts