Dear Catholics: Stop Trump, says National Review appeal

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks down as he leaves a campaign event in Concord, North Carolina on March 7, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Chris Keane
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-REVIEW-TRUMP, originally transmitted on March 8, 2016.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks down as he leaves a campaign event in Concord, North Carolina on March 7, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Chris Keane *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-REVIEW-TRUMP, originally transmitted on March 8, 2016.

(RNS) In an appeal to the faithful, 40 conservative Catholic leaders have denounced GOP front-runner Donald Trump as a demagogue and danger to the nation and the Republican Party.

The open letter appeared in The National Review on Monday (March 7), one day before the Michigan Republican primary, which could give Trump an almost-unbeatable delegate lead in the GOP nominating race if he posts a strong win.

Robert P. George, of Princeton University and George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, headed the charge, and the appeal was also signed by opinion leaders from academia and religious media.

The letter denounces Trump for “vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance, and — we do not hesitate to use the word — demagoguery.”

Worse, they wrote, he’s the opposite of what Catholics should seek in a leader.

George and Weigel wrote of Trump that 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 … the principle of limited constitutional government.”

Those causes have been championed by the GOP, the authors wrote, but a Trump nomination would threaten the party’s commitment to those issues.

The appeal, in the pages of the magazine founded by conservative icon author William F. Buckley, Jr., comes less than a month after its editors issued a similar denunciation of Trump in its January edition.

RELATED STORY: Catholic vote key for Trump in Michigan

On Jan. 21,Trump fired back on Twitter:

“National Review is a failing publication that has lost it’s way. It’s circulation is way down w its influence being at an all time low. Sad!”

Ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan primary, a new Fox News-funded pre-election poll of likely Republican voters showed the New York billionaire was a popular choice among Catholic voters.

Trump’s recent kerfuffle with Pope Francis (who called the candidate’s stance on immigration “not Christian”) has not dissuaded Catholics.

According to the poll, Trump, with 52 percent of Catholic voters, leads Sen. Marco Rubio (16 percent) Ohio Gov. John Kasich (14 percent) and Sen. Tex Cruz (11 percent) with Catholics.

(Cathy Lynn Grossman is senior national correspondent for RNS)

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  • CMR

    20 Daniel was answering and saying: “Let the name of God become blessed from time indefinite even to time indefinite, for wisdom and mightiness—for they belong to Him. 21 And he is changing times and seasons, REMOVING KINGS AND SETTING UP KINGS, giving wisdom to the wise ones and knowledge to those knowing discernment. – Daniel 2:20-21
    This is a very INTERESTING time to be alive…. Trump just may be what’s necessary to bring about the end. The cry of “peace and security” might come during his presidency… Ya never know…

  • yoh

    “George and Weigel wrote of Trump that 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 … the principle of limited constitutional government.””

    That is the most awesome endorsement of Trump ever made by conservatives!!!!

    I love the fact that Trump isn’t bothering to pander to fetus worshipers, dominionists, the anti-gay bigots and anti-public libertarian types. Attacking the rights of women, gays, atheists as well regulations which serve to protect the public are neither wildly popular positions, nor worthy of respect.

  • Doc Anthony

    When William Buckley was in charge of the National Review, you never saw any soggy, pitiful mess of this sort.

    But times have changed. For the worse.

    These 40 “Catholic leaders” (yes those are quote marks), are effectively calling for voters to elect HILLARY CLINTON for president.

    Ted Cruz does not have nearly enough money, media, and machine to survive against Hillary (and Bill), And Marco Rubio will be totally out of gas after the Florida primary, even if he wins Florida. Rubio’s done.

    Hey, we are all suspicious of the evils that Trump MIGHT do, but there is NO doubting whatsoever of the national evils that Hillary WILL do.

    Whether you are Catholic, Protestant, or even Atheist, Barack Obama was just the BEGINNING of your constitutional religious freedoms getting repealed. Hillary Clinton will FINISH the job!!

    Side note: “National Review” is conservative only when they wanna be.
    Watch out for Sell-outs, baby!!

  • Ben in oakland

    A limited constitutional government that is going to rebuild the marriage culture?

    Even if that weren’t code for “stop gay people from marrying”, it is hardly a limited government that decides who is going to get married, and that everyone should, whether gay or straight.

  • patrick

    “….to religious freedom….” How about non-religious freedom – freethought ?
    “….the rights of conscience,…” This is an atrocious fraud – a hoax !
    Catholicism brutally excises one’s conscience from Baptism.

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  • yoh

    Of course the coded nonsense is contradictory.

    “limited constitutional government” is code for deregulation and destruction of all government services designed to benefit the general public.

    What is interesting is most of their causes are already stopped dead in their tracks by the Supreme Court. Its all about trying to make nonsense dishonest end runs around clear rulings against their agendas.

  • Georgina Bent

    open your eyes and ears! don;t be fooled by the Fool.

  • Gina

    Yes, Jesus is our Spiritual leader. However, we also need secular leaders who are wise, compassionate, accepting of ALL peoples, knowledgeable of the world and governing. Trump is none of those, unfortunately.

  • #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain

    Trump is not the answer. He is an embarrassment. He is not fit to be the leader of this country. He is playing America like a fiddle. And his supporters have sipped the juice. He is TROUBLE. If you think Obama and Clinton are bad…buckle up because he will be the beginning of the end.

  • Betty Clermont

    For over three decades, Catholic ecclesial and lay officials have been united with the Republican establishment. Nothing new here.

  • Walter

    Yes, Fran, I agree. But the constitution does not permit a theocracy a la Ted Cruz.

  • Fran


    Yes, we live in very scary, as well as exciting times, since we are in the last days of a wicked era, as Jesus prophecied (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). It does appear that the great tribulation and Armageddon are not that far away, also taking into consideration the political circumstances and chaos at the present time!

  • Fran


    Many politicians may “try” to put “theocracy” into their imperfect human governments; but they will fail since the only “true” theocracy is God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44). The Bible and its principles, laws and commands are superior to the Constitution and other man-made laws, as well as more beneficial.

  • Jack

    I’m beginning to think Trump is going to be stopped, but we shall see.

    One thing is clear: Pride goes before a fall.

  • Jack

    So according to yoh, it doesn’t matter that Trump degrades and dehumanizes any person who dares to disagree with him. All that matters is having the “correct” political positions.


  • Jack

    Doc, maybe you should read a quote from Buckley on Trump. It is from 2000; it is not exactly laudatory:

    There is no reason on earth that National Review, yesterday or today, would ever favor Donald Trump for political office of any kind, let alone president. It would have to bend itself into a pretzel to come up with logic in favor of his candidacy.

  • Jack

    Patrick, don’t be silly. Religious freedom, rightly understood, includes all rights of conscience, including the right to be an atheist.

  • Jack

    I fear you’re right on this. Fortunately, even within the Republican electorate, most are voting for other candidates.

  • Jack

    I guess that makes the late Buckley a “sell-out” too, Doc?

    But more to the point, why do you act as though Trump is the lone GOP candidate? There are three other candidates still in, and if you combine their vote and delegate totals, they far exceed Trump’s. Moreover, one of them is by himself only a few dozen delegates short of Trump’s total.

  • Jack

    And, of course, yoh is hoping against hope that Trump’s positions are really yoh’s. I wonder whether Donald Trump even knows or cares what his own positions are on a number of issues.

  • Jack

    Gina is correct. The only individuals Trump accepts are those who say nice things about him. Everyone else is deemed a potential or actual enemy.

    This is the personality of a Nero or Caligula — the narcissistic personality traits of a wannabe tyrant.

  • Jack

    Calling Cruz or anyone else in this race a “theocrat” is laughably absurd, unless one stretches the word, “theocrat” far beyond its normal meaning.

  • Jack

    That’s not entirely clear, Betty. On wealth-and-poverty issues, the Catholic Church is far closer to the Democrats.

  • yoh

    I have no idea what you are trying to claim here. But it clearly has no relation to a word I said. If you want to play in the mud, you can do so by yourself. Your tone trolling is duly noted and ignored.

  • Jack

    Yoh, this isn’t an echo chamber. It’s a message board. Don’t expect everyone to agree with you on everything. If your ego is too fragile to handle that, take a break for awhile. But don’t change your name again; that just masks your problem.

  • Doc Anthony

    But not voting for them TONIGHT (Tuesday March 8th)…

    …Tonight, the GOP establishment and the media (and even Ms. Hillary Clinton!) received some very interesting surprises !!!!!

  • yoh

    Said the man who spams the boards constantly with pointless bloviating and frequent uncivil comments about both posters and authors. About half the comments on this thread are both yours and pointless.

    Are you done with your little hissy fit?

  • Jack

    Your lecturing about civility is too funny. It’s like a roaring drunk touting the virtues of sobriety.

  • Jack

    Hillary received an unwelcome surprise but on the GOP side, Trump again underperformed regarding both winning margins and losing Idaho. Even in Mississippi, the home for Trumpian-style populism going back to William Jennings Bryan’s presidential runs, Trump still failed to reach 50%.

    In every primary, the boor has failed to win anything like a majority.

    And to call his most serious foe, Cruz, part of the “establishment” is laughable. Trump himself is more “establishment” than Cruz, who is hated by every Washington establishment figure, more than anyone.

    So if all you care about is “fighting the establishment,” you’ve chosen the wrong guy anyway.

    I have yet to run into anyone for Trump who makes a rational case for Trump’s candidacy. It’s all question-begging stuff like hatred for Hillary or unfocused rage at nothing and everything. If you hate Hillary, why Trump & why not his foes who are more electable?

  • Scott Shaver

    Jack: Trump may not win the presidency but it’s clear to the whole world that he’s definitely set up an Oval Office inside your head and caused you to take complete leave of both common sense and Christian “decency”. You are beginning to sound just like him. Time to curb your obsession. You’ve let your obsession with Trump turn you into him. Imitation, as I understand, is the sincerest form of flattery. Why do you let one man turn you into such a mess?

  • Scott Shaver

    We’re Buckley still alive reading current editions of NR… He would burn his own publication TO THE GROUND!

  • Jack

    Ah, the old “when-will-you-stop-beating-your-wife” game……

    Nice try Scott.

  • Jack

    That’s quite an exaggeration, Scott. NR has drifted, but not that far.

    Moreover, that misses the point — which is that NR’s current view of Trump mirrors Buckley’s view in 2000 and that NR’s negative view of Trump is unrelated to its “drift” problem.

  • Larry

    Neither yoh nor Jack are shy about wielding spiked clubs.