Brooks: Trump Has ‘Moral Obtuseness,’ ‘No Moral Calculcus’

New York Times columnist David Brooks argued Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has “moral obtuseness” and “no moral calculus” while discussing Trump’s handling of a questioner at a town hall meeting on Friday’s “PBS NewsHour.”

Brooks said, “You would hope that everybody in this day and age has sort of a bigotry response, that when somebody says something clearly bigoted, like Muslims are a problem in this country, that you have a response, and the response is one of visceral disgust, and you would hope we would hear something said about African-Americans, Latinos, blacks, women, whatever group it is, and he somehow didn’t have that response. And, in contrast to John McCain, four years ago, had a similar question, and he did have that response. … And one of the things that’s interesting to me about Trump is, 99 percent of businesspeople are people of business, but also people of honor. And so they don’t check their values or their principles at the door when they do their business deals. But, when you hear Trump talk about his business, oh, I bought that politician, I bought that politician, I contributed to them, I contributed to them, the only thing that matters is the outcome, is the bottom line, the revenue thing. And that carries over into the way he talks about politics.  He evaluates politicians, he evaluates policies, and he evaluates events, by the polling data. And if you’ve got no qualitative, no moral calculus going on in your head and you’re all just looking at the numbers, well, then you get this sort of moral obtuseness, and no reaction to what was clearly a bigoted statement.”

Earlier, while analyzing the second prime GOP presidential debate, Brooks stated, “Well, first, I’ve been predicting for 37 straight weeks that Donald Trump will fade. And I could be wrong this time. But I’m confident. So, I may be wrong, but I’m confidently wrong, that I think he’s going to begin to fade, in part because, I think he’s gotten a little boring, and also a little hapless. He can afford to look offensive. He can afford to look distasteful. He can’t afford to be boring or incompetent, because his mastery is the whole basis of his campaign. So, I’m feeling a slide. So, we’ll see. As for the risers, it’s no accident. It’s no — not controversial. Carly Fiorina, if you’re on stage with 11 people, one of the acts of genius you have to have is the ability to create a signature moment that can be broadcast and rebroadcast. She has that. She has both the creativity to create those moments with some nice phraseology, and also the passion. And so she’s clearly, I think, rising to the top tier. This is a party that does not — I do not think, at the end of the day, they do not want crazy, so I don’t think they want Trump. They also don’t want Milquetoast. They don’t want vanilla. And Jeb Bush, I’m afraid, is sort of stuck in pseudo-vanilla land. And so they’re going to want — I think Fiorina is right up there, and I think Marco Rubio would be the other one, bit of an outsider, a genius for taking complicated situations and explaining them in a way that is clear, without being oversimplified. And so I think you have those two, Fiorina and Rubio, who will get the biggest boosts.”

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