Our Views: Jack Martins makes his bed

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State Sen. Jack Martins did appear to be somewhat reluctant to support Donald Trump’s run for president.

“It’s either support him, or support either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, so the choice is not between Donald Trump and somebody else,” Martins said. “It’s between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and if Donald Trump is the nominee, which he isn’t yet, then I’ll support the Republican nominee — once we have a nominee.”

Martins spoke less than two weeks ago as Trump stood poised to mathematically cinch the Republican nomination for president, which he proceeded to do the following week. 

Martins’ statement is actually an improvement on the previous responses of E. O’Brien Murray, a campaign strategist for Martins’ campaign for the 3rd Congressional District. 

“When the Democrats finish their bloodbath of a primary and are crawling across the finish line, we’ll be happy to address the attacks from any one of them,” Murray said in March in response to Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern, one of five Democrats seeking the 3rd Congressional seat. 

Stern had called on Martins to refuse to support Trump, citing Trump’s acceptance of endorsements from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

However, hedged by Martins, at least we now have an answer.

Unfortunately, we feel it is the wrong one and one which raises serious questions about how Martins would serve the 3rd Congressional District if he were to be elected.

If he was willing to support Trump, Martins should have said so earlier and been prepared to explain his decision. 

Saying he would support the Republican nominee without explaining why he believed Trump was best qualified to be president begs the question of whether there would ever be a Republican that Martins would not support.

That does not augur well for Martins, who has worked well with Democrats as a state senator, serving as an independent voice in Congress. His apparent reluctance to address Trump and his views raises questions of whether Martins would be willing to stand up to the extreme voices who have played an outsized role in the Republican-controlled House. 

Even more problematic from our perspective is Martins’ judgment in supporting Trump.

The Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, are by no means perfect candidates. Clinton’s support of the war in Iraq, the use of her email server while Secretary of State and her handling of the aftermath of Quaddafi’s fall in Libya among others, raise legitimate questions about her qualifications to be president. As does the practicality and wisdom of Sanders’ proposals and record, about his.

But based on their records, experience and temperament both are legitimate candidates.

That is not true with Trump.

We believe he is simply unqualified to be president. 

He has demonstrated little or no knowledge of policy — and no inclination to learn.  He has run a campaign based on insults, lies and fear-mongering, targeting Mexicans, Muslims, women and the disabled, among others.

He engages in conspiracy theories, questioning President Obama’s country of origin, whether Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was an ally of Lee Harvey Oswald and whether the Bill and Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster  killed — all allegations without basis in any fact. 

He is not a person we want leading this country.

Martins is not alone in his support. Most Republicans have come to support Trump’s bid for president — grudgingly or otherwise.

But other Republicans and conservatives have not, including three of the last four Republicans to run for president. House Speaker Paul Ryan, perhaps the leading Republican in Congress, has yet to endorse him. 

So Martins had a choice. And now he must live with the one he made and the questions his support raises.

Does Martins support a ban on Muslims coming into the country?

Does he favor deporting the 11 million undocumented people living in this country and building a wall along our entire border with Mexico, that Mexico would pay for?

Does he believe in a policy of torture without limits for our enemies? That we can kill the families of terrorists?

That climate change is a hoax and we should bring back the coal industry?

The list of questions goes on and on.

We hope Martins will now begin to answer them.

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