On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial asserting that businessman Donald Trump is “not fit to be president of the United States.”
The Times stated that its opinion had been shared by others, including “politicians of both parties, economists, pundits, business leaders — but millions of GOP primary voters don’t seem to be listening.”
The Times wrote that the GOP wing supporting Trump has “taken leave of its senses, a flight blamed alternately on inchoate anger, disgust with inside-the-Beltway candidates and misplaced affection for a plain-speaking cartoon character who often seems to utter whatever nonsense comes into his head.”
The editorial continued with a laundry list of issues delineating who Trump is: No experience in government, a paucity of knowledge of the issues, and a temperament that would be problematic as president.
Calling him “a racist and a bully, a demagogue,” the Times then segued into a list of Trump proposals it found problematic:
Trump’s willingness to kill the families of terrorists, “a violation of international law so blatant that a former CIA director predicted that U.S. troops would refuse to carry out such an order.”
Trump’ willingness to waterboard terrorists and implement forms of torture that are “much worse.”
Trump’s proposal to seize and deport a reputed 11 million illegal immigrants.
Trump’s statement that he would bar all Muslims from entering the country until further notice.
Trump’s recent statement that he would “open up our libel laws.”
Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border and force Mexico to fund it, a proposal the Times called a “fantastical premise.”
Trump’s desire for protectionist tariffs, which could engender a trade war with China and Mexico.
The Times continued, “It isn’t easy to tell how much of Trump’s performance is merely shtick and how much is real,” pointing out Trump’s statement after Super Tuesday that he was “becoming diplomatic” while simultaneously threatening House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI), saying, “Paul Ryan, I don’t know him well, but I’m sure I’m going to get along great with him. And if I don’t, he’s going to have to pay a big price, OK?” The Times remarked, “That’s about as diplomatic a message as a dead fish wrapped in newspaper.”
The Times grudgingly admitted Trump’s positions are more moderate than some of his rivals for the GOP nomination, then concluded:
Nevertheless, those candidates are more rational, knowledgeable, understandable and predictable — all of which are necessary (albeit not sufficient) qualities in the Oval Office …. Trump isn’t the answer — he’s just a cynical manipulator playing on the very real frustrations of voters tired of a government that takes big, difficult problems and makes them intractable. Those voters still have time to choose a better standard-bearer.
The Times traditionally endorsed GOP candidates for president until 1973, having endorsed Richard Nixon in 1972. After Watergate, the paper made it a policy not to endorse candidates, only resuming endorsing candidates in 2008 when the paper endorsed Barack Obama, who also received the paper’s endorsement in 2012.