On Thursday, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a phony and fraud.
He also decried Trump’s “bullying” ways. And that part of his takedown amplified what some parents have already asked themselves: What kind of a role model for children is Trump?
“Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics,” Romney said.
“Now imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Will you welcome that? Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have, and it always injures our families and our country.”
Romney short-handed some of Trump’s greatest questionable hits.
“This is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity,” said Romney.
He did not mention Trump’s well-documented passion for personal attacks and name-calling on Twitter.
“I’m afraid to say that the Republican presidential front-runner is clearly guilty of cyber-bullying,” Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely.org and founder of the Internet safety website, SafeKids.com, warned in a recent essay.
“I say that not to comment on his fitness to be President but on his status as a public figure and as a negative role model for America’s youth.
“Demeaning comments about other people is also a form of bullying whether that’s criticizing the hair of fellow presidential candidate Rand Paul or the appearance of candidate Carly Fiorina or saying Fox’s presidential debate moderator Megyn Kelly had ‘blood coming out of her wherever.’
“I bring this up not to join the crowd piling on against Mr. Trump. There are plenty of politicians and political pundits happy to comment on his fitness as a candidate or potential president. My concern has to do with his potential impact on America’s young people, most of whom are very well acquainted with his antics.”
Trump used a vulgarity in December to attack Hillary Clinton, saying she got “schlonged” by Barack Obama in 2008. The word is Yiddish for penis.
Trump’s pledge to “bomb the s--t” out of ISIS has inspired pins and T-shirts that his followers wear at his rallies.
When he used the F-word during a campaign stop in New Hampshire in February, Bill O’Reilly at Fox News tweeted: “Advice to Trump: Using profanity on campaign trail is not presidential. Most use it, including me, but we are not running for (president).”
Joseph Manzoli, the father of three daughters, challenged Trump on his behavior at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire in February.
“I want nothing more for them than to look at their president as a role model. Throughout the course of this campaign, you’ve said some disparaging comments about women, about people from other countries, other religions, and about everybody who’s disagreed with you,” Manzoli said.
“Explain to me how I can look at my daughters and have them look up to President Trump as a role model.”
Trump scoffed at the question and said, “This is a CNN setup, by the way, but that’s OK.”
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump insisted, adding that he has hired many female executives and has been great to women — and women have been great to him.
But one reader of the Winterset Madisonian in Iowa was so worried about Trump visiting her town in January that she wrote a letter to the publisher denouncing him as a role model for children.
“When Ben Carson visited, I was glad to have him here. I appreciate the special way Iowa voters are able to meet and scrutinize whichever candidate they choose. Thinking about Donald Trump coming to Winterset, however, doesn’t feel that way,” she wrote.
“Donald Trump is a poor role model for anyone, but especially for children. His lack of respect for others and tendency to use personal attacks when confronted with difficult questions is not what we would expect of a presidential candidate.
“He has disrespected Senator John McCain’s prisoner of war experience stating he likes ‘winners’ better. That is not a value we teach our kids in Iowa.
“If a woman questions him, she is immediately at risk of having a personal attack on her looks, or worse. ... Probably the worst thing he can teach children is to stereotype people who don’t look or pray like they do.
“Next time you listen to Donald Trump, or when you decide who to caucus for, think about the kind of man Donald Trump is. Think about him as a role model for your children.”
Heather MacDonald, editor of the urban policy magazine City Journal, wrote in January that Trump is a particularly bad role model for boys.
“Conservatives, of all people, should understand the preciousness and precariousness of manners. Boys in particular need to be civilized. That task will be more difficult with Trump in the White House,” wrote MacDonald, who referred to Trump as the “coarsener-in-chief,” worried that having Trump in the White House would have a chilling effect on civility.
“There is no reason to think that Trump will change his tone should he get elected; he shows no sign of a capacity for introspection and self-correction. Any parent trying to raise a boy to be respectful, courteous, and at least occasionally self-effacing will have a hard time doing so when our national leader is so reflexively impolite.”
However, in an interview with Yahoo Parenting in January, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said her father was a good role model for her children, including 4-year-old Arabella.
“He’s really, really amazing with the kids,” she said.
“They see him most weekends during the summer. We’re together in New Jersey with one of our golf clubs. They spend a lot of time rolling around with him on golf carts. They adore him.”