Here's The One Thing Republicans & Democrats Agree On, Proving Bipartisanship Isn't A Unicorn
Since he announced his candidacy earlier this year, Donald Trump has been consistently making headlines with his constant stream of provocative statements. Both Democrats and Republicans have weighed in here and there, feeding the perpetual chatter surrounding the real estate magnate. But they've remained focused on attacking each other. However, Trump's latest statement was so extreme that it redirected both parties' attentions on one common enemy. On Monday, Trump's campaign emailed a statement to the press proposing a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. In response, both Republicans and Democrats have condemned the candidate with very similar messages. In fact, Trump's Muslim proposed ban has united Republicans and Democrats more than any other issue has in years.
Trump's press release called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." The White House immediately condemned the plan, tweeting, "We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam." All three Democratic presidential candidates did the same, but a less expected crowd echoed their sentiments. A slew of Republicans, including staunchly conservative ones, joined the backlash party. Without knowing who said what, you'd think the statements were all coming from one team.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders called Trump's proposed policies "crap." During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Sanders said:
What somebody like Trump is trying to do is divide us up. A few months ago we were supposed to hate Mexicans. He thinks they're all criminals and rapists. Now he think we're supposed to hate Muslims. That kind of crap is not going to work in the United States of America.
He also posted a series of tweets on Trump, calling him a "demagogue."
Martin O'Malley also used the label to describe Trump.
Hillary Clinton called Trump's plan "divisive."
On the Republican side, those who have butted heads with Trump in the past were expected to jump in. Jeb Bush called the real estate mogul "unhinged."
John Kasich also used the term "divisive," which is beginning to become synonymous with "Trump."
Lindsey Graham was even more harsh, calling Trump "dangerous."
Chris Christie dismissed Trump's proposal, saying that Trump didn't know what he was talking about.
Even Marco Rubio, who has avoided feuding with Trump throughout the election cycle, weighed in.
While it's pretty standard protocol for fellow candidates to comment on an opponent's policies, especially when they're as headline-grabbing and appalling as Trump's, what was more surprising was the number of other party members who came out of the woodwork to condemn Trump.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday:
I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a press conference:
This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. More importantly, it's not what this country stands for.
Matt More, Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, was proof that not even staunch conservatives can stomach Trump.
But perhaps it was Iowa's GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann's rebuke which really emphasized his party's unexpected shift from the usual partisan business to joining the other side in confronting a common enemy.
It's clear that the collective criticism over Trump is far more than opportunistic ammunition for the 2016 candidates. It even extends beyond partisan lines — or at least blurs them. If this means that stopping Trump is now the most significant bipartisan issue — next to, say, finding a cure for cancer — then maybe we should let the guy continue to do his thing, unbridled. It's easier to lasso an unruly animal than to catch one in retreat.