Finding truth in Trump, through the eyes of Cong. Tom MacArthur
His own party didn't like him. Many still don't. But for them, Donald Trump still outshines Hillary Clinton as a decisive leader who can restore America's global standing, says shore Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-3).
Supporting Trump for the presidency is a complex undertaking, MacArthur said, with one simple underlying concept: "We cannot afford four or eight more years of what we've had for the last eight years."
"By and large, I support the Republican agenda," he continued. "It doesn't mean I agree with everything Donald Trump says, or how he says it. But I'd rather be a member of Congress, working with him, to accomplish goals that move in the direction he wants to move...maybe without some of the things that I think are excessive."
He readily points out that there's a world of differnce between Trump's bombast and his own tempered approach. But the key is to look at the issues, not the image.
"His focus on national security...his focus on building our economy...making sure that we do deals that are good for America...trying to get government out of the way and allow people with all their ingenuity and creativity to do what they do best, and not have government bureaucrats trying to run our lives," get his full support, regardless of the presentation, MacArthur said.
"I may disagree around the edges. I may disagree with some of the ways that he wants to accomplish some of this. But I would much, much rather have him in the White House, and be in Congress, and work through the compromises that get the best results for the American people."
The Trade Promotion Authority and Trans Pacific Partnership exemplify why MacArthur categorizes President Obama as a weak negotiator and fears more of it from Hillary Clinton.
"I have problems with both those bills," he said. "It's not fair trade when a country puts 13-year-olds to work, doesn't pay workers an adequate wage, and then they under-price us in the marketplace," MacArthur said. "It's not fair trade when Communist governments prop up their industries, under-bid us in the marketplace and manipulate their currencies. Those are all realities."
"I think President Obama's view is, 'You have to have a deal, therefore I'll get the best I can get." I don't believe that. Sometimes you have to walk away and say, 'No, we're not going to have a deal unless it's under these terms.'"
MacArthur, nearing the end of his first term, said that party unity drove his decision to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and that it's beginning to form.
"We have a unifying platform," he said. "Even if you look at some of the platform items - they've softened a little bit. I think they realize that we're a big tent....I don't want to run away from our nominee, I want us to win. I want us all to win."
A rowdy convention, therefore, doesn't necessarily signify disorder. "One thing I love about our party...it's a raucous place with a lot of ideas, and it has been from the very first convention in 1856, and the campaign of 1860 that had the first Republican, in Abraham Lincoln, enter the White House."
Now, about that wall. "It actually made it into the platform, I think he is serious," MacArthur said. "And that's a good example [of the differences between them]."
"I don't think it's practical, or advisable, to try to round up and ship out 11,000,000 people. I don't think it's practical to build a brick-and-mortar wall across the entire southern border. But I think that Donald Trump sometimes uses exaggeration to make his point."
"We have a security problem on the border, we absolutely do," he continued. "If a wall was the only answer, so be it, but I think there better answers. I think we can do electronic surveillance and electronic fences...I think we need a lot more agents along the border. I think those are the things we need to do more than a wall that you can dig a tunnel under."
"But," he summed up, "I would rather be in Congress and have a President who takes that issue seriously. Barack Obama has not taken it seriously. He has allowed our country to get weaker, and to get invaded by people who mean us harm. I see it as weakness, and I don't think that Donald Trump has that weakness."