Here’s Why Dan Rather’s Takedown of Donald Trump is Actually a Fairly Big Deal

Tuesday evening, iconic journalist Dan Rather posted a scathing takedown of Donald Trump. While it’s not exactly shocking that Rather isn’t a fan of “The Donald,” it’s what he said that was incredibly profound. It’s one thing if he simply opposed Trump because he doesn’t like his policies, economic plan or what he says he’s going to do about Social Security and Medicare. Those are normal issues which could factor into anybody’s support of a particular politician.

However, what Rather said went well beyond your typical criticisms of a presidential candidate. He essentially said that Trump is incompetent, ignorant and his presidency would pose a massive threat to this country.

Let me go through a few of the things he posted:

No trying-to-be objective and fair journalist, no citizen who cares about the country and its future can ignore what Donald Trump said today. When he suggested that “The Second Amendment People” can stop Hillary Clinton he crossed a line with dangerous potential. By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics. This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival.

He then touched on how history is going to view those who are supporting Trump:

To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate.

What he wrote there is similar to what President Obama recently said where he mocked Republicans who are constantly having to speak out against something Trump has said or done — only for those same folks to keep insisting they support him as our next president. At some point you either have to endorse the entire candidate or stop saying you want him to be our next Commander-in-Chief. It’s ridiculous that so many Republicans keep having to condemn their own candidate, while insisting that something he’s said or done doesn’t represent the party. If all these comments he keeps making don’t represent the party, then how the heck is he your party’s presidential candidate?

Though I particularly enjoyed how Dan Rather concluded his post:

We are a democratic republic governed by the rule of law. We are an honest, fair and decent people. In trying to come to terms with today’s discouraging development the best I can do is to summon our greatest political poet Abraham Lincoln for perspective:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Lincoln used these stirring words to end his First Inaugural Address. It was the eve of the Civil War and sadly his call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder. We cannot let that happen again.

I liked that he used Abraham Lincoln because it showed the stark contrast of what a Republican president sounded like over 150 years ago compared to the idiotic drivel that spews out of Trump’s mouth — and Lincoln just so happens to be a Republican president who, unfortunately, was eventually assassinated because of the vile hatred, ignorance and violence like what we’re seeing fuel Trump’s campaign.

While I’m confident Trump supporters will dismiss Rather’s comments as nothing more than him being “pro-Clinton” or a “liberal” because, well, that’s what Republicans always do when their b.s. is called out by someone, I would like to point out that his post didn’t have anything to do with being a liberal or conservative. Nothing he said here was partisan or even had anything to do with the ideologies of the two parties.

When you’re someone in Trump’s position – regardless of party affiliation – words matter. There are a lot of crazy people out there who can easily be triggered to justify horrific acts based upon what presidential candidates, or political parties, seem to support and endorse.

Doubt me? Go ask the families of the victims of the Planned Parenthood shooting that occurred in Colorado Springs last fall when a madman with a gun cited word-for-word propaganda the GOP and its presidential candidates had been repeating as his justification for committing mass murder. I have no doubt that if Republicans hadn’t been using that blatantly false rhetoric to push their anti-Planned Parenthood agenda, those people would still be alive today.

So, when Dan Rather posted what he did on Facebook, he wasn’t doing so as a supporter of Hillary Clinton, a liberal or anything else — he was speaking out as a human being who’s highly concerned that he’s seeing a presidential candidate from a major political party saying utterly horrific things that could incite violence.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • strayaway

    Trump was right. There are things people can do. They can vote for anyone but Hillary. A smaller group of people, the Supreme Court, could vote against her agenda. Rather gets about a D- for his imaginative interpretation of what Trump said. Give the man a tin foil hat for effort. Reuters claims that the Secret Service never questioned anyone in the Trump campaign about trump’s statement as CNN had claimed.

    MeanwhileDemocratic strategist Bob Beckel was quoted as saying, with regards to Julian Assange, “just kill the son of a b—h.” That statement seems ok with Democrats although it is extremely more specific than anything Trump said.

    • educ8yourself

      The explanation of what Trump “really meant” does not make any sense, and you look utterly foolish for trying to spin it that way. Trump was talking about Clinton as President (e.g., future tense). He states: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks . . .”; Trump is talking about a President Clinton, this is after the election. He goes on to state,”. . .although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.” So if Clinton is already President and appointing Judges, and then states, maybe second amendment people can do something, that cannot logically mean to get out the vote. Under his very own sentence, Clinton is already President and appointing Judges. Clearly, he was stating in jest that maybe gun advocates could kill her before she appoints judges.

      • strayaway

        You used the word “if” in “if she was elected”. If the people Trump referred to vote for someone else, they will have done something to prevent Hillary from becoming president. I agree that Trump’s sentence wasn’t a very well constructed but there is certainly nothing Trump said suggesting assassinating Hillary short of tin foil hat logic. You are really stretching the sketchy things Trump said making yourself look, from my perspective, “utterly foolish”. Trying to put myself into your position and assuming you have been listening to Hillary, Huffington Post, and all the freaky Hillary leaning pundits, I can understand that you might internalize this week’s Hillary campaign talking point coming at you from various directions but Trump really didn’t say anything about assassinating Hillary. He didn’t use words like “kill’ or assassinate” to begin with. The would be empress doesn’t have a glorious wardrobe either no matter what the fawning media tells us.

        I contrasted the vagueness of Trump’s incoherent mumblings with the expressed desire of a Democratic strategist to “kill” Julian Assange. There is a big difference between saying something (Beckel) and imagining something was implied (Democratic sheeple). Yet I haven’t heard of any Democrats calling for Beckel’s dismissal. If Trump would have used Beckel’s words and applied them to Hillary, you would have a case.

      • educ8yourself

        None of the sources you listed are my news sources. You highlight your ignorance by making such assumptions. Do you get all your news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity? Should I be as ignorant and assume that much about you? Trump stated today Obama created ISIS, and when conservative Hugh Hewitt tried to rephrase to something much more reasonable, essentially that Obama’s decision to withdraw troops created a power vaccuum that lead to ISIS grabbing power, what did Trump say? He said no, I literally mean Obama was a founder of ISIS. As Dan Rather correctly stated, the rhetoric is the candidate (especially when Trump has no prior public service record to even look to). I can disagree with people about policy and still respect them, but those who support Trump I have no respect for. This man has no real policies, flip flops on everything, was a democrat just two presidential elections ago. This is the same man who pushed a the birther conspiracy, as recently as 2008 was praising Clinton, in 2007 stated Obama could easily remove the troops in IRAQ (and should), and is now stating Obama founded ISIS. He refuses to release his tax returns, the last President to refuse: Nixon. Trump’s dog whistle about second amendment folks stopping President Clinton (yes, future tense) is clearly a bad joke or red meat off the cuff statement that, to anyone not already too partisan to see, should go down in history as one of his lowest moments. History will not judge him, nor his supporters kindly. The polls will continue to reflect that most of the country is not like you, does not think like you, and does not want a man like Trump running the country. Trump is Goldwater 64′ repeat.

      • strayaway

        I suggest taking your blinders off and looking outside of your parochial news sources. I don’t watch or listen to Hannity, Rush, or Fox. Bad guess. I start my news day with BBC world news. But you can upgrade yourself by Googling things like “Assange $20,000 Seth Rich” to try to keep up.

        Obama didn’t “start ISIS” although the phrase used by Trump was “founded ISIS”; either of which are incorrect. Obama, inadvertently I think, vastly expanded ISIS by pursuing Hillary’s warmongering policies as SOS. He did not “found ISIS” although he might as well have. Hillary/Obama decided to arm “moderate” rebels to overthrow Assad. Assad had to fight them as well as ISIS. The moderates repeatedly fled or otherwise handed their US provided weapons over to ISIS. Instead of letting Assad snuff ISIS, the Obama moderates were defacto allies of ISIS. Trump was close but technically, ISIS was around but much smaller before Obama inadvertently empowered ISIS. Dan Rather, you will remember, was fired as CBS’s News anchor for falsifying the news.

        Obama had to remove the troops from IRAQ because The Iraqi parliament had ordered them out while Bush was still in office. Obama removed the last of our troops one month before the deadline. I don’t fault Obama for that. Again, you are imagining what Trump said and ignoring what a Democratic operative actually said. Hillary is Lyndon Johnson 1964. He gave us Vietnam resulting in wartime deaths of 58,220 Americans and a larger number of US suicides. At least you are consistent.

      • educ8yourself

        Reading comprehension is not your best skill set, that is okay. I never guessed you watch or listen to Hannity, Rush or Fox. I said, your poor assumptions about where I get my news is as ignorant as me assuming you watch Fox, Rush, Hannity… sigh, but that nuanced was lost on you just like Trump’s dog whistling was lost on you. And if you want to be very technical, trump said “founder of ISIS” and Hilary as a” co-founder. Assad is a war criminal who was massacring his own people, so for all your rhetoric against hawkish Clinton (which I agree on that limited point), it was the John McCain and other GOPers who were lambasting Obama for NOT arming the moderate rebels soon enough and with enough supplies. If you admit ISIS was around before OBAMA did anything to “empower[]” them, then do you credit GWB with the creation of ISIS by destabilizing the region in the first place with the IRAQ war over the false premise of WMDs? How is Hilary Lyndon Johnson when it was GWB who committed American troops and treasury to the initial Iraq invasion that lead to this entire mess?

      • strayaway

        Many leaders kill their own people. I just mentioned President Johnson. Assad was best left alone. He was our number one ally against ISIS in the region. He was not our enemy nor did he attack our NATO allies. Assad, at least, kept radical Islamists under control. The result of Hillary/Obama interventionist policies you seem to prefer to Assad’s rule was death, destruction, the expansion of ISIS, and refugee flows. It’s ironic that Obama and Hillary are inviting the refugees they created here given the probability that they will include some ISIS members. Yes, a lot of GOP representatives supported Obama. They should be sent out to pasture too. That wasn’t a tin foil hat assassination threat either since you read such things into Trump’s ramblings. Bush was not involved with Syria. That mess belongs to Obama, Hillary, and every politician of both parties who supported them. I, for one, will not reward Hillary for the death, destruction, refugees, and rekindling the cold war with my vote. Trump says bad things about brown people. Hillary bombs them.

        Why was it LBJ? You brought Goldwater into the discussion. I just pointed out that the other choice was Johnson who waged the Vietnam war leading to over 100,000 dead Americans. I guess you didn’t like the Goldwater option.

        Don’t forget that Hillary and every other Senator of both parties except Russell Feingold (D) voted to unconstitutionally give away their congressionally delegated power to declare war to Bush. At least Bush asked Congress to make the decision to declare war in Iraq. Obama attacked Libya without any consent from Congress.

      • educ8yourself

        I don’t disagree with you much in the first paragraph, except all of this was happening around the Arab spring and we were watching peaceful protesters getting bombed in the streets of Aleppo and Homs, but whether we should intervene, clearly in hindsight, no. However, at the time, with many voices putting pressure on the USA to stop what appeared to be a genocide (think Rwanda), arming moderate opposition parties was the middle option.

        Look, Trump has no record at all because he has never served the public. He has shown that in his private dealings, he has no moral scruples and everything is about him. That, combined with his utter lack of knowledge about world affairs, flip flopping on every position he’s ever stood for, and over the top rhetoric that is extremely dangerous (especially those that are not white), then yes, he has demonstrated he is unfit. Hilary has many problems, 30 years of public service to find those problems, but she is far more qualified.

        Here is an assumption, in the form of a question, that I will gladly stand corrected for: Were you a Bernie supporter who is in the NeverHilary camp? If not, who was your first choice candidate in this election year?

      • strayaway

        Arming the moderates didn’t work out so well.

        I agree that Trump is a wild card. However, Hillary has a disastrous record, particularly in foreign affairs and warmongering, from my perspective. Given the choice between someone who is iffy vs. someone who is a proven disaster whom I regard as evil, I’ll go with iffy. My state has Hillary up with a substantial lead though. If that persists, I will vote for Stein or Johnson. If close, I’ll vote for Trump.

        To answer your last question, my preferred candidate was Rand Paul who was for less interventionism, smaller government, and more privacy. By the time my primary came around, Paul was out of the race so I voted for Bernie to keep Hillary out. I have voted third party in six of the last eight elections including voting for Nader.

      • educ8yourself

        Well, we probably agree on a lot of issues, but I think fundamentally, we disagree on who is the lesser of two evils. For non-white Americans (and I say this not knowing your background), Trump’s rhetoric is beyond just entertainment, it is dangerous. I was a bernie voter, but I cannot fathom a Trump Presidency. Its unfortunate we have the candidates we do, but my LEV candidate is Hillary. And I voted Gore. Knowing how bad GWB would be for 8 years, do you at all regret your Nader decision? I point you to the Noam Chomsky LEV open essay, if you haven’t already read it.

      • strayaway

        Voting for the lesser of evils does sound like much of our difference. I never regretted my vote for Nader. I was so disgusted with the D&R candidates that I was at a loss for how to vote. Then I remembered having had my brakes go out on me twice when I was young driving in old junker cars. I also was in another car as a passenger when the brakes went out. I was lucky to survive those three incidents. I realized I could thank Ralph Nader for all the work he did lobbying Congress to require dual braking systems so the next generation would have this huge extra safety net for about $35/car by voting for him. Nader was run out of Dodge. Since then, I’ve seen Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and to some extent, Bernie Sanders get the same treatment for challenging the banksters, and war machine. I never liked Gore considering him a phony elitist creep. Bush promised a smaller, kinder, less interventionist government and lied on all counts. I suspect Hillary will be another Lyndon Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, or, at best, our own Eva Peron. Trump could be anything. I’m guessing he would govern hands off like Reagan, whom I’m not a fan of. If he wants to get along with Russia, that sounds better than having cold wars. It’s only my dislike of Hillary, based mostly on her record, that would even make me consider voting for Trump and then only in a close election. Chomsky has a wonderful mind but is more sanguine about big government than I am.

      • educ8yourself

        Good discussion, appreciate your perspective. Did you see Trump today walked back his statement about Obama founding ISIS as “sarcasm”? I really don’t think Trump deserves the benefit of the doubt anymore about what he says. Anything he says that is stupid and he takes heat for he then just walks back as a joke or sarcasm. This is absurd given that the day before, Trump shutting down Hugh Hewitt who tried to rephrase what Trump said and Trump said no, I mean what I said. This circles us back to the 2A debate and what Trump meant. I think given that Trump is willing to be sarcastic about ISIS, his tweet saying he appreciates being right about Orlando the day after the tragedy, and other outlandish statements hes made, it is more plausible that he was dropping some dark humor when he joked about 2A people stopping Hillary, but joking about an assassination backfired big time, and he had his people create this other theory. my 0.02

      • strayaway

        Hillary and Obama are responsible for the enlargement of ISIS however Trump put it. Breitbart has an article today titled “FLASHBACK: Hillary Clinton Received Secret Memo Stating Obama Admin Support for ISIS” showing a document purporting to be from the Defense Intellegence Agency to SOS Clinton and the State Department. It reads, “THE GENERAL SITUATION:




        That puts the US under Obama on the same side as ISIS and Hillary’s policies did not change. This is more serious than just handing weapons over to a bunch of incompetent ‘moderates’ who fled and betrayed us. This spells out that Hillary/Obama knew they were allies of ISIS and persisted in that relationship.

        I still see nothing in the comment Trump made suggesting assassination. Mr. Beckel, however, did express his hope that someone would take out Julian Assange who, in turn, seems concerned about the death of a DNC staffer who was assassinated, some think, for passing on information to Wikileaks. I don’t know whether that was why Seth Rich was assassinated or not but he was scheduled to testify the next day. Perhaps it was a coincidence. Two bullets in the back of the DNC staffers head head seems more concrete than imagining Trump said something about assassinating Hillary however.

  • bcinbc

    There are none so blind than those who fail to see reality.
    From where i sit, Trump fits this expression to a T. it is too bad that in his upbringing he was allowed to be so brash. There is a time to speak and there is a time to be quiet. He has not learned the latter. He also was apparently not taught how to be tactful, too bad. Being aggressive can be handled in much better ways than he has ever shown.
    History teaches us that great people may have have clenched a fist, but most often inside a velvet glove. They have usually achieved their objectives quietly and without trampling others on the way. Two qualities that are very absent in Donald Trump.
    Having said this as an outsider, i still fear for the near future of America no matter who is elected. Hillary has shown that she may have political savvy, but whether she can be fully trusted is very much in question. Still and all, a better risk than the Donald perhaps.