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In 2016 then Wisconsin GOP Representative Tom Petri joined 29 other Republican leaders in explaining why they would not vote for Trump. Their joint statement said: “Given the enormous power of the office, every candidate for president must be judged rigorously in assessing whether he or she has the competence, intelligence, knowledge, understanding, empathy, judgment and temperament necessary to keep America on a safe and steady course. Donald Trump fails on each of those measures and he has proven himself manifestly unqualified to be president.” Prescient. I would only add that Trump is unhinged.

Tennessee GOP Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ominously admonished Trump for his reckless threats that could put the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” Appropriately jaw-dropping. Trump has threatened “to totally destroy North Korea” (bellicose talk, more befitting U.S. adversaries). Trump also told South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham: “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there – they’re not going to die here”. South Korea is upset with Trump. However, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks Corker and Trump should “just talk it out”.

Trump lets loose with other incendiary talk: the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability”. And, Trump has terrified U.S. allies with his willingness to go back to “an arms race”. Note – the U.S. military budget is greater than the combined military spending of Britain, China, France, Russia and any foes! Moreover, the U.S. has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire world manifold. But NBC News reports that Trump wants a nearly tenfold increase in nuclear weapons! Trump belittled the story as “fake news”. Then, acting like a tin-pot dictator, Trump called for challenging the broadcast license of NBC (it does not have a license, only individual local TV stations do). All reminiscent of Nixon and his cronies. What to do.

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey and California Democratic Representative Ted Lieu have introduced legislation that “prohibits the President from using the Armed Forces to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a congressional declaration of war expressly authorizing such a strike. ‘First-use nuclear strike’ means a nuclear weapons attack against an enemy that is conducted without the President determining that the enemy has first launched a nuclear strike against the United States or a U.S. ally” ( Wisconsin Democratic Representative Mark Pocan is a cosponsor. All other members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation should join Pocan.

Which brings us back to Corker. He said his uneasiness about Trump was shared by most Senate Republicans. Does that include Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson? Why are most Republicans foolishly supportive as Trump threatens to unravel the successful Iran nuclear deal? It’s not only war and peace where Trump is unhinged. Look at Trump’s tweet to end federal aid to Puerto Rico (House Speaker Paul Ryan says Trump has “tremendous compassion”). Or Trump’s trying to sabotage by fiat the Affordable Care Act. Wisconsin congressional Republicans are not facing reality. Trump is unhinged.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

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