Donald Trump has a difficult task ahead of him on Thursday evening, when he formally accepts the Republican Party’s nomination for president at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), declined to endorse Trump Wednesday, dividing the convention and overshadowing the brilliant vice-presidential acceptance speech of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
There is one line the convention, and the country, want to hear Trump say in his speech: “I forgive Ted Cruz.”
Forgiveness is all too rare in politics. We often see politicians demanding apologies — which, if given, are used in attack ads anyway. But few of our leaders embrace reconciliation, or set a moral example of humility.
The Judeo-Christian tradition, which is the foundation of our political system, values forgiveness highly, and the Bible includes several examples of kings and generals acknowledging their own faults, accepting responsibility for their mistakes, and reaching out to their enemies.
Ted Cruz, who tried to position himself as the candidate of religious conservatives, had a great opportunity to demonstrate his principles in practice on Wednesday night. He could have said, publicly, that he forgave Donald Trump for all the nasty things he said during the primary. And voters would have understood that if Cruz could forgive Trump, they could look past his flaws and forgive him, too.
After all, has Hillary Clinton ever acknowledged her sins, much less asked for forgiveness?
But Cruz chose not to lead by example. And so the opportunity falls to Trump, to be the bigger man.
By forgiving Cruz, Trump could help unify the GOP, and end the convention on an elevated note. He could also establish, through action instead of mere words, his commitment to Christian principles.
And he would show the nation, in a bitterly divided and often violent time, that he is ready to lead, to look past what divides us, to bring Americans back together, in the best tradition of the party of Lincoln.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.