Trump Implodes

If you had July 18th in the pool for when Trump self-destructed, collect your winnings:

Donald Trump ignited a political firestorm Saturday by questioning whether Sen. John McCain — who spent over five years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War — is a war hero.

By mid-afternoon, Trump tried to walk back his blunder on Twitter, saying “captured or not, all our soldiers are heroes!”

But his attempt at damage control seemed unlikely to diminish the anger his remarks had caused. They provoked an immediate outcry from his 2016 presidential rivals and the Republican National Committee, which has expressed concern about the impact his controversial remarks on immigration have had on the GOP brand.

The controversy began early Saturday afternoon, when Trump, speaking at a question-and-answer session at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, commented on McCain, with whom he’s recently feuded over illegal immigration.

“He is not a war hero,” Trump told pollster Frank Luntz, who was hosting the session.

“He is a war hero,” Luntz interjected.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said, cutting him off. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have — I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”

Let’s review John McCain’s record here. When we got into Vietnam, McCain requested a combat assignment. While on the Forrestal, he barely escaped with his life during the Forrestal fire and was injured trying to save another pilot. He then volunteered for combat duty again, during which he was shot down and captured.

“Shot down and captured” is a nice word for breaking both arms and a leg, being beaten by Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, bayoneted and put into the infamous Hanoi Hilton. He refused early release (the Vietnamese wanted to use his release for propaganda), which resulted in more torture.

No one — not even McCain’s harshest critics — questions that he was a war hero, both before his capture and especially during it. Trump, who appears to have received at least five deferments, including a medical one, should not be surprised with how people are reacting.

This is the problem with having a Presidential candidate who “says what he thinks”. Politics is the art of saying what you think without pissing off half the country. You frequently have to against what the majority of Americans want. If you look at some of our best Presidents — like Reagan — they had a way of expressing their point of view while not driving away the other party. They had a way of negotiating with foreign leaders while not driving them from the table. It’s a skill and a critical one. And I’ve seen no evidence that Trump has it.

I’m open a brash interloper who shakes things up. Hell, I’ve been a big fan of the Pauls for a while. I’m even a fan of third party candidates. I don’t think our budget would have gotten balanced in the 90’s if not for the Perot insurgency. But what is the issue that Trump’s trying to make noise about? Immigration? The economy? The deficit? Anything other than himself? Rand Paul is trying to open the party to young people and minorities. Marco Rubio has been trying to expand the party’s appeal to the middle and working class. Both of these men have done a good job this year of stating their views without driving anyone away. Who exactly is Trump trying to open the party to?

Trump won’t get the nomination, obviously. Despite “leading the polls” (i.e, drawing 17% in a big field based on name recognition), his negatives among the Republican party are off the charts. But the longer he is sucking up the oxygen in the room, the more likely it is that the Republicans establishment will panic and go with an ultra-safe candidate like Jeb Bush. And indeed, Jeb is getting the lion’s share of contributions right now.

I really hope this is the end of Trump’s publicity stunt, but I doubt it. He’s getting too much attention from the wing of the party that has long been dissatisfied with the leadership. It tells you how disaffected they are that they support someone like this:

In public statements, he has advocated government healthcare, a woman’s right to an abortion, an assault weapons ban, and paying off the national debt by forcing rich people to forfeit 14.25 percent of their total wealth. When the man married his third wife, he invited Bill and Hillary Clinton to the wedding, and he has given many thousands to their political campaigns and their foundation. He’s donated many thousands more that helped elect Democrats to the Senate and the House. And George W. Bush was “maybe the worst president in the history of this country,” the man said in 2008. “He was so incompetent, so bad, so evil.”

Look, I understand the frustration a lot of people have the GOP, especially on issues like immigration .We have a lot of problems right now that need to addressed: big future deficits, big current deficits, the bill coming due for Obamacare, a broken immigration system, a broken justice system, Russia rattling the saber, a brewing Sunni-Shia War in the Middle East. I like the idea of supporting an insurgent candidate but Trump is not that candidate. He’s a circus freak biting the heads of chickens. And his comments on John McCain are just the wool coming off of a few million eyes.

Comments are closed.

  1. West Virginia Rebel

    And John McCain is a career pol who has been using his status as a war hero to stay in office for the last thirty years. And he was the one who went around calling his critics whacko birds.

    I do respect him for his service. He suffered horribly. But so did many other who got no recognition, and didn’t make it back.

    This will not be the last impolite thing that Trump says. In his official campaign response, Trump rightfully calls out McCain on his lack of support for veterans.  That doesn’t mean he needs to shut up and go away on the issues that Jeb! and the other establishment types won’t talk about.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    I’m not a fan of McCain either. I find him condescending and dismissive of people who disagree with him. And as for those “whacko birds”, he’s the one who inflicted the biggest of them on us.

    But this is just another example of Trump shooting his mouth of without bothering to think or get any facts or consider anything other than the flies buzzing around in his skull. I’m still wondering if he’s a Manchurian candidate encouraged by his buddies, the Clintons, to wreck the GOP. He’s undoing a lot of the good work Rubio and Paul have been doing to grow the party.

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  3. Section8

    But this is just another example of Trump shooting his mouth of without bothering to think or get any facts or consider anything other than the flies buzzing around in his skull.

    McCain also said the Trump rally “Fired up the crazies”. Yeah that should help the GOP, and certainly a lot of thought went behind that. Since when is it extremist and crazy that the GOP gets off its ass and actually fights for something? Now I know that doesn’t sit well with you Hal, given your record of backtracking at every turn when anyone in the GOP has taken a stand, but here’s the deal: The GOP won the senate just under a year ago, and part of it had to do with fighting this amnesty nonsense. That’s right the fucking “crazies” put them in office. So far they’ve done nothing except hide up their own asses. So people are pissed, and guess what, they’re going to turn to someone who isn’t going to back down, even with all the bullshit baggage that comes with it. THAT IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE GOP ALLOWING THIS SITUATION TO HAPPEN. That’s not a Trump problem, it’s not a “crazies” problem, it’s a goddamn out of touch GOP establishment problem. Again, just like I said with your last post on Trump, please pay attention to the real problem. One that you yourself have made excuses for and at every turn shoved those who challenged it under the bus time and time again on this blog. You may want to ponder over your credibility.

    As for McCain, a war hero yes; an American political hero, hardly. He’s a fraud. My guess is Trump’s comments will be taken in that context. The only people who will make noise about this will be the leftist crowd who doesn’t give two shits about the military to begin with, but will suddenly praise McCain for his service for no other reason than a political tactic.

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  4. CM

    Some of the other contenders (who have responded) took a different line when Kerry was being swiftboated. Jeb apparently now thinks that all US veterans earn respect and admiration, but he obviously didn’t when he couldn’t even express in words how much he valued that political smear campaign against particular veterans.

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