Trump Must Learn the Eleventh Commandment
Donald Trump may have gotten his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” from Ronald Reagan, but there’s something else he should have taken from him: his following of former California Republican Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson’s "Eleventh Commandment.” Reagan explained in his autobiography, “The personal attacks against me during the primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.” Reagan may not have followed that rule completely, but Donald Trump has never even tried it—not even after he won the 2016 GOP primary or the presidential election. He ruthlessly mocked his primary opponents, he blamed George W. Bush for 9/11, and he’s rather tastelessly criticized the dying John McCain, who may not be anyone’s favorite Republican, but still… come on.
His most recent offense came just a few days ago at his rally in Montana, when he poked fun at President George H. W. Bush’s slogan, “thousand points of light.”
“I know one thing: ‘Make America Great Again’ we understand. Putting America first we understand,” Trump said. “‘Thousand points of light,’ I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? It was put out by a Republican, wasn’t it?”
Based on historical precedent, 2018 should be a bad year for Republicans. And Trump criticizing a former Republican president in a year where Republicans can’t afford to be alienated seems like a bad political move. Indeed, several Republicans have spoken out against Trump’s remarks, including Ari Fleischer, who has defended Trump often in the past.
Others connected to Bush 41 also spoke out against Trump:
Richard Haass, who worked as a special assistant to H.W. Bush and as the senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on his National Security Council, slammed the current president for the jab.
"Truly offensive to see @realDonaldTrump mock @GeorgeHWBush given 41's 1) life of public service; 2) commitment to volunteerism; 3) critical role in ending Cold War peacefully and on our terms and then leading world in liberating Kuwait, the 1st test of post-cold war era," Haass tweeted Friday morning.
Nicholas Burns, the 41st president's Director for Soviet Affairs, wrote Friday morning that "President George H. W. Bush is ten times the man and the President than Donald Trump."
Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who penned a biography about the 94-year-old Bush, responded to Trump's mocking inquiry on Twitter Thursday night.
"Well, Mr. President, since you ask: it was an image of a nation illuminated by our better angels, offered by a man who gave his life to the service of that nation," he wrote.