Note: this is another post on Trump, whom you guys know I don’t like. If you’re bored of him or bored of me talking about him, feel free not to read. I shouldn’t post and his keep his star ascendant but … if I could resist such things, I wouldn’t have to blog.
The first time I realized Donald Trump would probably make a bad presidential candidate was the 2011 White House Correspondents dinner. At the dinner, Seth Meyers and President Obama made numerous jokes at Trump’s expense. This is part of politics. Every politician gets mocked and derided. Good President even enjoy it. Ronald Reagan, while struggling with a speech, joked that Rich Little should finish it because “you do me better than I do me”. Bush the Elder though Dana Carvey’s imitation was hilarious and did an SNL bit with him. Clinton, Bush the Younger and Obama have always taken roastings with good humor (Obama’s followers, less so).
I don’t mean to overstate my case here, but it’s important to me that a President have a sense of humor about himself. The office is so powerful and the sycophancy surrounding it so thick, that it’s easy for Presidents to get a swollen head.
When Trump was being roasted, he didn’t crack a grin. The next day, he whined about it and guests said he was furious. This told me that he was not a man who should be President. It told me he was someone whose ego was both too bloated and too fragile to take a joke.
On Thursday, we had a debate. And the Fox News correspondents did their job. They asked tough questions of all the candidates, specifically homing in on their biggest weaknesses. Megyn Kelly pressed Marco Rubio on abortion law and Ben Carson on his lack of political experience. Baier pressed Bush on his family ties and Christy on New Jersey’s poor economy. Wallace pressed Cruz on his perceived divisiveness and Huckabee on his culture war constitutional amendments. It was a refreshing change from the “why are you so popular” questions that surround Clinton.
And, whether they know it or not, every candidate benefited. They were given a chance to address their biggest perceived weakness on a national stage. They were pressed to see if they would crack. The result will be a better and stronger GOP field.
None of the candidates complained.
Donald Trump did not like being asked about his sexist and demeaning remarks to women. On Twitter, he called Megyn Kelly a “bimbo”. In an interview, he said that she was probably having her period. His hordes of followers have been bombarding her with attacks and signing petitions to get her fired.
First of all, Kelly was absolutely right to ask the question. This isn’t about “political correctness”. This is about practical politics. If Trump is the nominee, you know damned well his remarks about women are going to come up. Yeah, Democrats engage in sexism and harassment and even rape and get away with it. The rules aren’t the same for Republicans. No matter who the GOP candidate is, he’s going to be going into a headwind of accusations of sexism and misogyny. No matter who he is, he is going to face a large gender gap in voting (Republicans lost women by 11 points in 2012, although they closed the gap in 2014). The Republicans do not have the luxury of having a candidate who calls women “pigs” and “bimbos” (putting aside, for the moment, the questions this might raise about his character and judgement).
And no, I don’t care if it was Rosie O’Donnell (and it wasn’t just her). It’s still damaging to the Republican brand. A big reason the Republicans closed the gender gap between 2012 and 2014 (and won big in 2014) was because they stopped fellow Republicans from saying stupid shit about women.
But … even assuming Kelly’s question was unfair … Donald Trump wants to be President of the United States. Guess what? He’s going to get hostile and unfair questions. He’s going to face a hostile press. Is this how he’s going to handle it? And if he can’t take a tough question from Fox News, what the hell is he going to do when pushed by Vladimir Putin or Ali Khamenei?
Can you imagine Ronald Reagan calling people fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals? Can you imagine Reagan getting a tough or even unfair question from Helen Thomas and calling her a bimbo and saying she must be having her period?
I’ve always thought Trump was a poor candidate. His reaction to the debate tells me he’s a crybaby as well.