Why Supporting Trump Undermines Jewish Values
In a famous line from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the character Malvolio, describing himself, says, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Sadly, none of these terms seem to apply to the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.
In the cases of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, what has emerged is a very sad story of potential greatness having exploded into crimes and felonies, the likes of which we have not seen since disgraced former president Richard Nixon and the Watergate trials.
In the case of Michael Cohen, the clear implication of his statements to the judge was that he was directed, by then candidate Trump, to use funds that had been earmarked for his presidential campaign to silence the ready-to-publish stories of affairs with pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and a Playboy centerfold, Karen McDougall. Clearly, in the race for president, the most senior and trusted members of Trump’s campaign knew of hush monies being distributed to these women to cover up affairs. And the key damning words from Michael Cohen during his court appearance were that such monies were directed by then-candidate Trump. This despite denials that Trump continuously made to the press when asked for his responses to these matters.
Lost in Trump’s unfaithfulness to his third wife Melania is the possibility that America now has a philandering president who has lied and attempted by hook and by crook to deceive the American people. He has allegedly violated campaign finance laws and is accused of other criminal behavior.
There are also questions about the Trump Foundation, and whether it was used to promote his presidential campaign in violation of campaign finance rules. You can nearly hear the voice of Sam Ervin, former head of the Watergate Congressional Committee, drooling out the famous words: “What did the President know and when did he know it?” But today, the picture is radically different.
We currently have a Republican majority in both houses of Congress that refuses to even acknowledge the possibility of Trump’s wrongdoing. And the irony of all this is that some of the very Republican legislators, led by Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch, who were gung-ho in their efforts to impeach former President Clinton for his sexual predilections have remained mainly silent in the wake of surging evidence that is emerging constantly — and on a daily basis — against their own president.
Of course, much more can emerge in the yet-to-be-completed trials connected to the Trump campaign and his highest minions. But as of now, Trump stands as a president bruised and battered, a laughing stock in the international community. And it seems that so many of those who have had the closest relations with him have fallen by the wayside, or been condemned and verbally brutalized by presidential tweets. The closer you get to Trump, the more likely it is you’ll suffer serious political excommunication
The major questions throughout all of these scandals is as follows: For how much longer will the American people tolerate this president? He is an individual who cannot put together a complete statement from beginning to end without sounding like a child with a minimal education. He has been shown to be an individual who refuses to speak the truth, behave honestly, or adhere to any Judeo-Christian concept of morality and ethics.
America is facing a Constitutional crisis of the highest order. And what is of grave concern is how much longer the American people will allow this to continue before the light of America’s Constitution will crumble and become yet another brave attempt at democracy that failed.
Rabbi Chaim Landau was born in the United Kingdom and is a graduate of Guildford College of Law, Jews College in London, and Yeshivat Hamivtar, Jerusalem, where he obtained Smichah. He is Rabbi Emeritus of the Ner Tamid Congregation in Baltimore, MD where he served for 25 years. He is married to Mindy Landau and has four married children.