Prominent Conservative Catholics: Donald Trump Is ‘Manifestly Unfit’ to Be President

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for service at First Presbyterian Church in Muscatine, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Trump will be holding a rally at Muscatine High School in the afternoon. ()
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

A group of 36 prominent conservative Catholics are out with a forceful public letter urging fellow Catholics to withhold support from Donald Trump, a candidate they describe as indifferent or hostile to issues most dear to Catholics.

There is nothing in his campaign or his previous record, the letter contends, “that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.”

The letter, authored by Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, and George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Washington DC-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, decries Trump’s “vulgarity” as well as his “appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice,” which, the letter states, “are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility.”

If he were to carry out his promises to “order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families,” the letter continues, he “would bring shame upon our country.”

The authors state that they sympathize with the “many good people” who have been attracted to the Trump campaign because he speaks to issues of legitimate and genuine concern: “wage stagnation, grossly incompetent governance, profligate governmental spending, the breakdown of immigration law, inept foreign policy, stifling ‘political correctness’ — for starters.”

There are other Republican candidates, the letter insists, who are far more likely than Mr. Trump to address these concerns, and “who do not exhibit his vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance, and — we do not hesitate to use the word — demagoguery.”

The letter closes by declaring that Mr. Trump’s record and his campaign “show us no promise of greatness” but only “the further degradation of our politics and our culture.” The authors urge their fellow Catholics and all citizens to reject his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by supporting “a genuinely reformist candidate.”

Robert George is the founder of the American Principles Project, a group that advocates limited government, pro-life and pro-marriage measures and a relaxing of U.S. immigration policy.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter