Republican Jewish Americans and Trump
Most in my family and circle of Jewish friends are profoundly pro Trump, even if some recognize that he has a personality problem. They are motivated by what 45 has done for Israel, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and by arranging the Abraham Accords. The weak performance of our aging current President, Joe Biden, does not help.
I also applaud Trump for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, something most of the recent presidents had promised or supported, but never did. The Abraham Accords are an amazing achievement, though most of the credit should probably go to Jared Kushner.
However, even as a registered Republican, I can not agree with my family and friends’ support of Trump. He is an impulsive narcissist, whose only motivation is his own ego. One could argue that he has that in common with most politicians, but Trump’s degree of self-centered obsession goes beyond the egocentricity of most politicians and trumps (pun intended) his concern for what is best for America and for the GOP.
I actually believe that Trump endangered the traditional bi-partisan support for Israel, though, now that he is gone, seems to be strong again. As said, Trump did great with the US embassy and with the Abraham Accords, but what also counts for me, as an American and as someone who cherishes Israel, is to have a strong leader in the White House, who motivates and inspires people in the US and around the world. Admittedly, we have not seen much of this for many years, but for sure Trump created divisions in the country and diminished our prestige around the world.
I am concerned how Trump, as well as his predecessor, sent the message to our opponents and enemies not to worry about our military dissuasion. Obama sent that message when Syria crossed his red line and the same for Trump when he did not stand by Saudi Arabia when its oil installations were attacked by Iran. And talking about Iran….., getting out of the JCPOA was in principle good, especially because of its sunset clause. But getting out without making Iran feel that a military option is real, only gave Iran the freedom to further develop and expand its nuclear capabilities. Let’s also remember how Trump looked up to Putin, whose power and charisma he wanted so much for himself. Knowing Trump’s lack of sympathy for Ukraine and Zelensky, it is doubtful that he would have come to Ukraine’s support.
The idolization of Trump, from so many Americans, amazes and scares me. I keep believing that most Americans are in the middle and mostly moderate, but the pull from the extremes is strong both within the GOP and within the Democrats. The Squad and Bernie Sanders are no better than the Trump supporters, and the system of Primaries does not help the moderates.
I can only hope for America that Trump, Biden and Kamela Harris are not on their respective tickets for 2024. Biden should take the first step and announce that he will not seek re-election and thereby opening the field for hopefully moderate and younger candidates. It would be in the best interest of his Party. There is no expectation that Trump would ever consider the best interest of his Party and only the fear of another loss would keep him away in 2024.
Liz Cheney may become the trouble maker for the GOP in 2024 if she decides to run as an independent. She would not win, but she could have the Ross Perot effect and ensure another win for the Democrats. That risk could (should….) convince the GOP to gently put Trump to graze in the gardens of Mar-A-Lago.
That brings me to what could be the GOP alternatives for 2024. My personal preference would be a DeSantis-Haley ticket. I have had the opportunity to see DeSantis from closeby, first at a bankers convention and last year, a few weeks after the Champlain Tower disaster, when he came to my Chabad Shul on a Shabbat morning. He had not alerted the press, gave a short but powerful speech and stayed for about an hour while the prayers continued.
On both occasions, I saw a dynamic and charismatic leader, with no bombastic statements or extremism and different from the more extreme image that he sometimes portrays in public. I may not agree with everything DeSantis does and says, but then I have not agreed with everything any President and Presidential candidates have said or done. DeSantis would be the answer for those wanting an alternative to Trump and Biden, and if chooses Nikki Haley as VP, we may have a dream ticket for America and for Israel.