A group of leading American Catholics have said Donald Trump is “manifestly unfit to be president”.
In an article for the National Review, George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow and William E Simon chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, and Robert P George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, wrote that Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination “has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity.”
In the piece, Trump was also accused of “oafishness, shocking ignorance, and… demagoguery”.
“His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility,” the article said.
“He promised to order US military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.”
37 people, including academics, campaigners and journalists, are signatories to the article, including Ryan T Anderson, William E Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Francis J Beck, professor of philosophy and Church–state studies at Baylor University.
Thomas F Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, and Anna Halpin, founder of the World Youth Alliance, have also put their name to the piece.
In the article, Weigel and George wrote that they understood why “many good people, including Catholics, have been attracted to the Trump campaign”, listing “issues of legitimate and genuine concern” such as wage stagnation, the breakdown of immigration law, and stifling ‘political correctness’.
However, they wrote, “there are candidates for the Republican nomination who are far more likely than Mr Trump to address these concerns.”
The article added: “Mr Trump’s record and his campaign show us no promise of greatness; they promise only the further degradation of our politics and our culture. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to reject his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by supporting a genuinely reformist candidate.”