Kim Reynolds dismisses Trump concerns as "clutter," "distractions"

Poll after poll shows Donald Trump losing badly among women voters, even among white college-educated women, often a Republican-leaning group. But the most powerful women in Iowa Republican politics remain united behind the GOP presidential nominee.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds said yesterday that Iowans should “focus on what’s important” rather than on concerns about Trump she characterized as “clutter” and “distractions.” The likely future candidate for governor should never be allowed to forget that she dismissed flaws many prominent Republicans outside Iowa have acknowledged are disqualifying.

Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson and Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell covered Reynolds’s remarks on October 24. From the Iowa Public Radio story:

At the Branstad administration’s weekly news conference, Reynolds was asked about reports of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.

“It’s inexcusable, unacceptable, you know that’s how I feel,” Reynolds said. “But there’s a lot of misinformation and other issues and we need to put those aside and focus on the direction we want to take this country.”

Reynolds says getting the country “back and on track” should dominate the decision for Iowa voters.

“As we have the opportunity to travel the state, they’re asking questions that matter,” Reynolds said. “We need to put the clutter aside, put the distraction aside.”

Henderson quoted Reynolds as saying, “What I love about Iowans is we’re informed voters and part of the reason we’re informed voters is because of our first-in-the-nation Caucus, and so I really have a lot of confidence in Iowans to look at the issues, to look at what’s important for the state of Iowa, to look at what’s important for our children and our grandchildren.”

Let the record reflect that Reynolds considers it just a distraction that Trump bragged about kissing and grabbing women whenever he felt like it. I don’t know how she raised her kids, but many parents make a real effort to teach their children about consent and respect for other people’s bodies.

Incidentally, five former leaders of the Republican National Committee have said they will not vote for Trump. Most recently, Michael Steele said the GOP nominee has “captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life and gave voice to that.”

I don’t suppose Reynolds would be too concerned about Trump’s demagoguery and blood libel, which has given hope to white supremacists calling themselves the “alt-right.”

Since Reynolds doesn’t think degrading women or race-baiting are important issues, how about basic respect for democratic values, like honoring the will of the voters? Trump’s comments about a “rigged election” at campaign rallies and during the third presidential debate have “unnerved scholars on democratic decline, who say his language echoes that of dictators who seize power by force and firebrand populists who weaken democracy for personal gain.”

Not important enough for Iowa’s lieutenant governor? Hmmm, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said today he will vote for Hillary Clinton, “because I think she’s qualified, and the other gentleman is not qualified.” Fifty experts on national security and foreign policy, who have served in past Republican administrations, warned in early August that

From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.

Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.

In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and its democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based. At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends. Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics. […]

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

In our judgment, Mr. Trump with his overriding ego has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self- control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

That letter appeared well before Trump demonstrated his lack of impulse control during and after the presidential debates (for instance, tweeting in the middle of the night about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado), and nearly two months before the explosive 2005 videotape surfaced.

A shocking number of former senior officials in Republican administrations have said they will vote for Clinton, because Trump poses a danger to the country.

In Iowa, former Lieutenant Governor Joy Corning (who served during Terry Branstad’s third and fourth terms) came out as #NeverTrump last month. Three fellow former Republican state lawmakers–Ed Bittle, Julia Gentleman, and Betty Grundberg–joined Corning to announce their support for Clinton in a letter the Des Moines Register published on October 23. Excerpts:

Today, the Republican Party nominee, Donald Trump, is without principles and has openly promoted racism, nationalism, misogyny and discrimination against people with disabilities. His demagoguery has undermined our democracy, and his behavior in this campaign has put a misleading and ugly face on the Republican Party.

We do not agree with every policy and position of the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, but we believe she is a serious public servant who listens to, and seriously considers, other viewpoints. In doing so, she has successfully worked across party lines to enact policies that benefit the American people. In addition, Secretary Clinton understands the complexity of the international challenges we face and has worked with our allies and other nations to secure nuclear weapons and fight terrorism.

Thus, we believe that Hillary Clinton has the intelligence, the temperament and the global experience to be the president, the commander-in-chief and the leader of the free world.

It is time to stand up to bigotry and division. Please join us in voting for Hillary Clinton.

The Iowa Federation of Republican Women’s former president Melissa Gesing likened supporting Trump to

being in a bad and unhealthy relationship. Part of the problem with getting out of the relationship is that you keep convincing yourself that things are going to get better. While they often briefly get better, they continue to get worse until the downs are lower than one ever thought possible.

Reynolds and other prominent Iowa GOP women like U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and Republican National Committeewoman Tamara Scott have taken the easier political path. With the governor’s son Eric Branstad running Trump’s general election campaign in Iowa, Reynolds may feel she has no choice.

I am convinced that within a few years, perhaps sooner, a lot of Republicans will regret lacking the courage to speak out against this psychologically unstable man. Trump may or may not win Iowa, but he’s not likely to become president.

On the other hand, Reynolds is almost certain to run for governor in 2018, unless Branstad decides to seek a seventh term. When she does, she will probably dismiss reminders of her unwavering support for Trump as another “distraction” from “important issues.” Iowa Democrats had better not allow her to evade accountability for her gutless choice.

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  • I'm confused...

    …Lt. Gov. Renolds said that what Donald Trump did was “inexcusable.” Then she immediately excused him??