Until President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, I had been a lifelong registered Republican — first voting for Eisenhower in 1956, and in subsequent presidential years for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, both Bushes, McCain, and Romney. All told, an eleven out of eleven pro-Republican presidential voting record. But my past personal knowledge and experiences with Trump were such that I could not support him in 2016 and certainly do not in 2020.
A former Marine Corps captain, a full scholarship kid through college and law school, I was then a Republican state senator from the Pittsburgh area for eight years, 1962-1970, founder of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team in 1966, served in the Nixon administration from 1971-72, and later was a CEO, a COO, and general counsel of three significant U.S. publicly-traded companies. While with two of these three companies, I became a close friend with the governor of New York and then Connecticut. Trump leaned heavily upon me to arrange business favors from each of the governors, even suggesting that “working together, we can own New York.” He was crude, full of himself, and a fast-talking blowhard. I did not succumb then to his offensive charms. And I could not, in good conscience, support him in 2016.
The author of your “My Turn” column, Rita Campbell, in your Oct. 18 edition last week, listed several reasons to be concerned about a Biden presidency. But despite Trump’s well-acknowledged gross habit of lying, Ms. Campbell says “Trump says it the way it is!”
And she failed to point out even more basic concerns about Trump as our president: (1) disabler of U.S. global alliances (2) a toady to dictators Vladimir Putin and the North Korean joke (3) a congenital, pathological liar (4) unfaithful to his wives and contractors (5) an apparent congenital tax cheat (6) an inability to attract and retain first-class aides (7) a non-reader of intelligence briefings (and books) (8) a lifelong experience of corner-cutting and at least borderline corruption (9) a failure to make Mexico pay for a border wall (10) and last, but certainly not least, Trump has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he is incapable of effective leadership during a calamitous widespread disaster such as the coronavirus. His pronouncements that it will “magically disappear,” that it’s “no worse than the flu,” and that it will “go away in the summer,” will live in infamy.
In my mind, nothing is more important in a U.S. president than the “character” factor. Lincoln had it in abundance, as did both Roosevelts, Eisenhower, Ford, both Bushes, McCain and Romney. Trump quite simply, and regrettably, does not. He was not born with it, nor has he acquired it.
My father and both grandfathers, lifelong Republicans, probably rolled in their graves when I re-registered as an independent following Trump’s election.
But I’m convinced they’d roll right back if they could now learn of Trump’s basic indecency, inappropriateness, ineffectiveness, and lack of character.
Jack E. McGregor lives in Mifflinburg.