Donald Trump Demonstrates Why Principles Actually Matter

Principles ground us. Principles are the anchor in the storm of passing fancies. Sadly, people without principles often don’t understand why they matter until it's too late.

From his studio replica of the Oval Office, Glenn pointed to artifacts around the room to help drive home the importance of keeping principles clearly in sight during The Glenn Beck Program Thursday.

Pointing to Native American items from the second Tea Party in early 1900’s, a Civil War drum, guns from World War II, photos of Ronald Reagan and a Norman Rockwell painting, Glenn talked about how each item is a reminder of important principles.

The Norman Rockwell painting of a Boy Scout with the Scout Oath written in the background serves as a reminder to Glenn to "do your best" to both God and country. It's a simple guideline, but one that's all to easy to lose site of.

Politics are messy. They always have been and always will be. Getting down in the mud might be Donald Trump’s go-to move but his rough couple of weeks provides us a chance to look beyond the candidate and to principles and values.

The Republican frontrunner said "there has to be some form of punishment" for women who receive abortions during an interview with Chris Matthews earlier this week.

In traditional Trump fashion, he quickly changed his position and walked back from the strong response only hours later.

Articulating Conservative Principles Takes Practice

Changing a position or a view is something we all do, but Glenn and co-host Stu Burguiere discussed just how intense of a process this was for Glenn years ago.

“Stu, I wouldn't say I would make a good one, but am I somewhat qualified --- not on all of it, but at least to help make decisions, somewhat qualified, maybe not to be president, but to stand in the room and to have solid advice for a president?” Glenn asked.

Without hesitating, Stu responded.

"Yeah. Absolutely. Because you've taken the time to think about these things and develop your belief system," Stu said.

Glenn continued to probe with another question.

“Okay. Correct. Would you say when you started working with me in, what, 1998, '96, that I would be qualified to stand and advise a president?" Glenn said.

Stu answered the obvious question, "No." It took Glenn, and as it does anybody, a long time of real introspection to get to that point.

"A decade, easy, of really wrestling," Glenn said. "And that's a decade of me doing this for a living, to where I was challenged every single day on my viewpoint."

Referring back to Donald Trump's interview, everything from his body language to his stalling techniques and his hesitancy to provide an answer all point to his unformulated opinion. He simply didn’t have a principle anchoring him to a point of view and he has not taken the time to truly understand the subject.

"There's no principle, and there's been no intellect curiosity," Glenn said. "When you hear him say this now, you can see there's been no intellectual change at all."

Trump has said himself he used to be pro-choice and is now pro-life, that is a huge change in perspective and would take some thinking if there had been a true change. His inability to articulate his stance is indicative of not only being prepared but a lack of true understanding.

Ben Carson Attempts to Explain the Abortion Fiasco

As one of Donald Trump’s top endorsers, Ben Carson was asked about this misstep. Carson's response proves that neither he nor Trump are tied to principles.

“Bear in mind I don't believe that he was warned that that question was coming," Carson said.

Needless to say, this explanation didn’t fly with co-host Pat Gray.

"What does that have to do with it? Like you're going to be warned, 'Hey, Vladimir Putin is going to say he wants you out of Eastern Europe right now. Every base has to go.' 'Well, I didn't know he was going to say that. So originally I said okay, but then I went and talked to people and now I say no.' It's too late, my friend," Pat said.

Carson’s endorsement of Trump was confusing at the time, but this response goes to show how the political process has swayed his principles. It also demonstrates why Glenn would not pull the lever for him.

"This is my problem with Ben Carson. I like Ben Carson. Ben Carson was a good man. He had his principles in order. But what did I always say about Ben Carson? He's not well read enough. He's not --- he hasn't been briefed enough and gone through the drills to know what a president needs to know at the drop of a hat," Glenn said.

Trump May Have Hit His High Water-Mark

Despite all of his antics, Trump hasn’t experienced many --- if any --- major stumbling blocks to his campaign. He has made insensitive and prejudicial remarks, flip-flopped and lied and spearheaded character assassination against anyone standing in his way.

His attacks on Megyn Kelly were one thing, but his latest attacks on Heidi Cruz and saying women should be punished for having abortions may just be what finally trips him up. Wisconsin will be an important testing ground.

The latest polls show Cruz moving up 21 points to 40 percent while Trump has stayed even at 30 percent --- and Kasich pulls up the rear with 21 percent.

"Ten points in Wisconsin, according to this latest poll. And why is that happening? I think it's because Trump has hit a high-water mark," Pat said.

It’s beginning to be more apparent to everyone just how little of a foundation Trump has and how little principles matter to him.

Featured Image: Screenshot / NBC

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!