DES MOINES, IOWA—Donald Trump, who actually is considering a run for the presidency in 2012, has a problem with gay rights. In an interview with the Des Moines Register last week, ahead of an exploratory trip to the state today (by aides), Trump said he opposes gay marriage and also is against allowing gay couples the same rights as straight couples.
After the jaw unslackens, the only response to such a position can be—you’re fired. Here’s why. It’s not just that the mind-set is inherently abhorrent and un-presidential, but more egregiously, it was made without any thoughtful consideration on the part of a man who really should know better.
Here’s how the conversation on same-sex marriage went in his interview with the Register’s Tom Beaumont. “Asked whether he supports allowing same-sex couples to marry, Trump said no. Iowa conservatives have overwhelmingly opposed the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage.
“‘They should not be able to marry,’ he said. But asked whether gay couples should be able access the same benefits as married couples, he said his ‘attitude on it has not been fully formed.’
“Given a second to think, Trump said on marriage and civil benefits, ‘As of this moment, I would say no and no.’”
As of this moment? Might he have a change of heart, say, in the next moment? How does he feel about nuclear weapons? Might he want to use them against China this moment, and then maybe not in the next? Precisely how fluid are these positions? Or is that too prickly a question to ask of a man who thinks he’s God’s gift to chief executives?
One might think it’s all a joke, which in fact it is, but here’s the really scary part. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Trump’s approval rating was higher than either Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, though that isn’t saying much for any of them.
“Trump’s numbers were 9 percent ‘very positive’ and 17 percent ‘somewhat positive,’ for a combined total of 26 percent,” reported NBC. “Romney had a 6 percent ‘very positive’ rating and 19 percent ‘somewhat positive,’ largely unchanged since the poll's findings in the 2008 election. And Pawlenty was at 3 percent ‘very positive’ and 7 percent ‘somewhat positive’ for a combined 10 percent.”
Still, the poll results may have the decidedly depressing consequence of encouraging Trump to actually jump into the race. The only upside to that is that a campaigning Trump may not be able to do The Apprentice, but even there we’re not getting our hopes up. He’ll probably figure out a way to do one called The Apprentice—Candidate’s Staff, featuring Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan and Dana Perino, in a mad dash to see who gets the job.
In truth, though, it’s probably best that Trump—like his fast-talking, self-obsessed and equally hallucination-prone doppelgänger, Charlie Sheen—got this one off his chest. He won’t be able to walk the anti-gay rights odium back, which means the country will most likely be spared the spectacle of seeing the media go through the motions of taking him seriously on the campaign trail.
Good riddance, really. Haters can be given TV shows but not the keys to the White House.