Missouri’s former Republican U.S. Senator John Danforth discusses division in the country, GOP | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s former Republican U.S. Senator John Danforth discusses division in the country, GOP

Sep 6, 2017

Late last month former U.S. Senator from Missouri John Danforth published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he called President Donald Trump the “most divisive president in our history.” He called for fellow Republicans to disavow Trump’s divisive tactics and redefine the Republican party.

On Wednesday, Danforth joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the divisions in the U.S. and how he hopes to move the country forward despite rancor and differences. Danforth was joined by Marie Griffith, the director of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University.

On Wednesday night, Danforth will also speak at Washington University in conversation with Griffith.

“Holding the country together has been historically one of the main missions of the United States:  how do we keep this diverse place with people with all their differences and interests glued together in one country? I think it is the principal job of government to do that and the opposite of what Donald Trump is,” Danforth said. “Therefore he is contrary to the purpose of American government and the history of my party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of keeping the Union together.”

Loading...

Before his fiery op-ed, Danforth said he had been critical of President Trump the summer before the election, but had to tamp down his personal feelings while serving on the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“We decided to make a decision that we would not engage for or against any candidates during election time,” Danforth said. “But after that, this is the kind of thing that builds and wells up.”

Danforth said that, it is not realistic to expect a Republican who is currently in elected office to speak up against Trump, but that politicians no longer in elected positions had to fill that role.

“An alternative to verbalizing opposition to Trump is modeling the opposite of Trump,” Danforth said. “I don’t think it is necessary for every elected office-holder to say ‘this guy is divisive,’ but I think to model the opposite, the kind of public servant who tries to bring people together and keep people together.”

Griffith said the purpose of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics is to model that kind of civil conversation in politics and religion.

“We bring in folks across the political and religious spectrum — people who don’t agree with Sen. Danforth politically or me, politically,” Griffith said. “We try to see how we can talk about values, the values we do share – the love of our country.”

Listen to the full conversation with Sen. Danforth and Griffith here:

On Wednesday night, Danforth will also speak at Washington University in conversation with Griffith.

Related Event

What: John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Presents: "Preserving A United Nation: Moving Forward Together Despite Our Differences (A Conversation With John C. Danforth)"
When: Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.
Where: Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall at Washington University
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.