Can a candidate with an immoral past be president?

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    Immediate response, of course not. But, what about this thought? Today the morality in the secular world has fallen so far, maybe a candidate who has a past and has repented, or is publicly trying to repent, is needed to be a model of hope that people can repent nomatter how far they have sunk. Maybe a message needs to be sent to those who feel discouraged that change and improvement is possible, and that is why we are seriously looking at a candidate with a serious social morality flaw? Or is that too far fetched?


    Hi EzratHashem.

    You bring up a good, thought-provoking point in morality being a factor in how to judge the

    overall person.

    There is an argument to be made that morality is not necessarily a determining factor for a capable politician.

    The political arena is filled with extremes of those who support and those who hate any given person, but I will toss in a few names here with a comment or two.

    1. I like the work Spitzer was doing as an attorney general. He went out on a limb to do a great job, and they got something on him to take him out. But workwise, I commend him.

    2. Clinton left the federal government with a surplus of money. Period. If there are those who want to credit Reagan, fine. Let’s go there.

    3. Ronald Reagan did not, to my understanding, totally sever ties with his then wife when he met and began a relationship with Nancy.

    4. Rudy Giuliani, privately, socially, not only played the field, but parties with toeiva people and is not against that. But would I want Rudy in office? If I could cast two votes, I would, but I dont speak Spanish.

    5. Roy Cohn, a noted conservative in NY politics who was held in the highest of esteem. Also, a private life we would not recommend for anyone.

    I know there are more.

    On the other hand, there were philanderers who just wasted time in office and did not serve their constituents well and used taxpayers money for illicit parties and activities.

    It IS a factor to consider, but not THE litmus, in my opinion.


    EH -“Immediate response, of course not.”

    Sorry, but this isn’t always the Gedolim’s response.

    When R. Ruderman zt’l was asked whom to vote for either Jimmy Caawter or G. Ford -his response was either a Menuval or a Shoiteh? In this case he said go for the Menuval -Caawter!

    So it really depends who the other candidates are! Ask Daas Torah!

    There is No one answer for every case!


    i dont think that anyone views a president as a moral role-model. I mean, its the top political spot in the world, lets get real. honestly you can make smart decisions for your countrys benefit and be totally immoral. it just makes you a terrible person.




    There have been very few presidents who would pass for saints. Until a few years ago, the minhag was not to discuss such matters in public – which doesn’t mean “nothing ever happened” only that polite people thought it was none of your business. Remember that you are hiring the guy to get a job done, not to marry your daughter to him.

    Avi K

    On the contrary, if he has done teshuva he should davka be the one (Yoma 22b). Otherwise he will not be able to understand the public (Rabbi Itamar ben Yisrael, “Mishmeret Itamar” Beshalach quoted by Rabbi Saul Weiss in “Insights” vol.1 pg.32 #47). However, if he has not done teshuva one should not vote for him (ibid in the name of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, “Tolodot Yaakov Yosef” Behalotcha).


    Well, it’s been done more than a few times, to say the least.


    Oh, I left someone out.

    Thomas Jefferson.

    Not only a president, but a Founding Father and one of the greatest political minds of all time, who was also a religious man, YET was also a philanderer and a hypocrite extraordinaire, proving to be highly flawed in the moral department, stated:

    “and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s G-d entitle them,”

    (I guess he did not consider Africa to be entitled to the same)


    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

    (Again, in the case of Africans, that was not the case. I guess when it comes to money, morals can be compromised. He had “employees” but no payroll)


    Also engaged in activity with his slaves that would have him labeled a criminal today having to register, seriously, as a offender as per Megan’s Law.

    Believe it or not!


    Why not? Someone with an immoral past can be a Rabbi

    Rav Tuv

    BT Guy-Oh, I left someone out.Thomas Jefferson.

    You also left out JFK & LBJ and FDR there is enough documentation that these three were not faithful to their wives.


    Being faithful to ones wife isn’t an obligation under the Noahide laws.




    1. Not to deny God.

    2. Not to blaspheme God.

    3. Not to murder.

    4. Not to engage in incestuous, adulterous, bestial or homosexual relationships.

    5. Not to steal.

    6. Not to eat a limb torn from a living animal.

    7. To set up courts to ensure obedience to the other six laws.


    Are we talking about the same case? A married man and an unmarried woman do not constitute an adulterous relationship according to Halacha.

    Think first

    Dash is correct about that.

    If ur looking for a prez with a clean history you aint gonna find a prez.

    Avi K

    Dash, that’s true. However, there seems to be an expectation of a faithful family relationship even among Benei Noach. If there is some kind of social expectation among them being unfaithful might be considered stelaing from his wife.


    Toi, as a Yid you have better role models. But, someone without a true guidance will most definitely be affected by the moral tone the president sets.

    That being said, the notion of being played by the media bothers me more than anything else. When they want the public to yell, they yell; to smile, they smile; to proclaim someone as a great speaker, they follow suit. Everyone knew about this politician’s past. All of a sudden, they decide to ‘figure it out’ all over again, and it becomes a story.

    When a story is blasted and repeated in your face without your control, it gets a facade of being interesting.


    It is a tremendous dispute whether Jefferson ever did anything wrong. It was actually probably his brother.


    Hi musser zoger.

    Also the senior Bush was said to have done the same.

    Hi Sam2.

    That is exactly what Thomas said. lol


    Avi K: Very good point. I was thinking that it would be similar to hafka’as halva’a rather than gezeila, and therefore would not technically violate one of the seven laws. Please let me know your thoughts.


    I am not disgreeing with those speaking to the halachic perspective on this.

    But it needs to be said that such a thing, chas veshalom, is a violation of their partners/familys’ emotions, dignity, and trust. And causes damage to all three.


    It is possible that even if it’s not one of the seven laws, it would still be asur because it is a sevara, as BT points out. There are those that say a goy is obligated in hakaras hatov because it is a sevara.(Dama be Nesina by kibud av v’aim of a goy). However it seems he would not be killed for this as he would be when in violation of the seven laws. As for an immoral president, a country gets the leader that it deserves.


    honestly, for an american goy, hes got a pretty decent record.

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