Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson warns Donald Trump against signing a “religious freedom” executive order in a new op-ed in the New York Times.
This executive order would be a political tinderbox that could explode in the faces of Republicans everywhere, reinforcing negative stereotypes about the party’s dislike of L.G.B.T. Americans, women, and religious and ethnic minorities. It reignites a feckless debate that time and time again has forced Republicans to retreat, as we’ve seen with North Carolina’s bathroom bill, the Arizona bill that would have let businesses refuse to serve gay customers and Indiana’s similar “religious freedom” law. Vice President Mike Pence might consider telling you about the last of these because he spearheaded the effort as governor. It was quite a doozy.
If you still aren’t concerned about dragging the entire party into another swamp of political quicksand, then let’s focus on what you do care about: the art of the deal.
What would you get out of signing this executive order? You would placate a vocal minority that includes some certified hate groups and far-right activists who are truly out of step with most Americans and many Republicans across the country. What would the other side get — or in other words, what gifts will you be handing to Democrats and others on a silver platter? A great cause, new supporters, new energy and money, the mother’s milk of politics.
Read the full op-ed here.