This was undoubtedly one of the worst photo ops in U.S. presidential campaign history. Bobby Knight lauds the policy of dropping atomic bombs while candidate Donald Trump nods in agreement.
Dropping atomic bombs didn’t take all that much “guts” in World War II when only the U.S. had them. There was no risk to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. troops. It would be horrific in 2016 with at least nine nations having nuclear weapons and more waiting in the wings (including a shove from Trump to include Japan and South Korea).
Bobby Knight's historical knowledge seems to stop at 1945. In 1949 the Russians got the atomic bomb. Thereafter in international conflicts President Harry Truman, though not taking nuclear weapons off the table as an option, would go out of his way not to provoke the Russians (who had them) or the Chinese (who didn't). Truman had a clear-headed assessment of the horrific danger of the use of nuclear weapons.
After affirming that the president always had to consider the use of nuclear weaponry in any scenario involving U.S. troops, Truman went on to assure the press that day that he never wanted to see the bomb used again. “It is a terrible weapon, and it should not be used on innocent men, women, and children.” Truman continued to be mindful of the dangers of the nuclear arms race through the end of his tenure in office. In fact, in his farewell address to Congress in 1954 he warned, “we are being hurried forward, in our mastery of the atom…toward yet unforeseeable peaks of destructive power [when man could] destroy the very structure of a civilization…such a war is not a possible policy for rational men.”That Bobby Knight and Donald Trump seem to know nothing of Truman's change of thinking on using nuclear weapons is a big political vulnerability.
Since the Russians got the atomic bomb every president since Harry Truman has had to think about hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of American casualties as the result of American use of nuclear weapons. Using nuclear weapons is not courageous; it's appallingly dangerous. It could result in national annihilation. Reagan’s greatness was in winning the Cold War not only without nuclear conflict, but with no military conflict.
Note: I don’t think Trump on women or other insults will have a major effect on this election. Rather, as in the 1964 Johnson/Goldwater election, Democrats will link Trump’s unsteady, retaliative personality to the threat of nuclear weapons. That will be the strongest attack they have.
1. the Bobby Knight footage above with Trump nodding in agreement as Knight talks about the courage of using the atomic bomb.
2. Senator Marco Rubio was especially forceful (erratic, con artist) as was Governor Bobby Jindal (narcissist, egomaniac) on Trump's lack of character fitness, Governor Jeb Bush brought up the issue as did Senator Ted Cruz (with a joking reference to waking up one morning to find that President Trump had nuked Denmark). Even lesser known high level Republicans have commented on fearing Trump in charge of nuclear weapons.