On Friday, the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign released a hostage video, showing a shell-shocked Mike Pence nodding approvingly as the GOP presidential nominee discussed — with a straight face —the possibility that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father may have been involved in JFK’s assassination. One would normally expect a hostage in this situation to make some attempt to signal rescuers on the outside, but apparently, the hostage is under such duress that he was unable to even signal via eye blinking.
On a serious note, Indiana Governor Mike Pence is a man of immense political and personal gravitas. He was brought on board to balance Trump’s erratic style on the ticket, and he must have known that he was signing up for a lot of these awkward press conferences. I imagine he was hoping that the presidential-sounding Trump who wowed the audience at the Republican convention on Thursday would able to hold it together at least until he left Cleveland.
Instead, Trump went back to being Trump at a farewell gathering before leaving Cleveland on Friday. Sounding like a man who had been holding in an enormous bowel movement for four days, the GOP nominee let loose with an excremental mind dump, attacking Heidi Cruz and resurrecting his deranged Raphael Cruz/JFK conspiracy theory. While claiming that he had “nothing to do with” the completely debunked story that the National Enquirer ran about Cruz’s father, Trump nevertheless gave the lie credence by repeating it. “All I did was point out that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” Trump said.
But then it got worse, and Pence never batted an eye as Trump explained why the story might be true: “Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead he said, ‘Donald Trump!'” Again, Trump is just the messenger here. He reports, you decide.
But Trump wasn’t finished yet, and still no reaction from Pence as Trump praised the journalistic prowess of the National Enquirer. “This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected. They got OJ, they got Edwards. If that was the New York Times, they would’ve gotten Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting. I’ve always said, ‘Why didn’t the National Enquirer get the Pulitzer Prize for Edwards, and OJ Simpson, and all of these things?'”
On and on it went from there, with Trump eventually concluding that “the National Enquirer does have credibility. He said they wouldn’t have run the picture if “things are wrong” because they don’t want to get sued. “But nobody ever denied — did anyone ever deny that it was his father? It’s a little hard to do, because it looks like him,” he said. (Cruz called the allegation “nuts” and “kooky”on the first go around with this nonsense and his campaign said at the time, “The story is false; that is not Rafael in the picture.”)
But this has nothing to do with him, Trump insisted! BAD MEDIA!!!
While I admire the earnest hopefulness of my friends and colleagues who keep insisting that any minute now Trump is going to evolve and become really, really presidential, he proved once again today what a silly pipe dream that is. It’s very clear that the man does not have it in him. A 70-year-old tiger isn’t going to suddenly become a domestic house cat, no matter how many of the “best people” he hires and regardless of how steady and reasonable his vice presidential pick is.