Donald Trump got roundly booed Friday when the businessman, near the beginning of his Values Voters Summit speech, dissed Marco Rubio, calling the Florida senator “a clown.” Rubio had said some unkind things about Donald the day before, but had not resorted to ad hominems.
During the booing, Trump, although clearly taken aback, went on, citing a litany of Rubio’s sins in the immigration area, emphasizing the senator’s participation in the Gang of Eight, as if coaxing the audience to agree with him. They didn’t much. The Donald compounded the error by later insisting the boos were “cheers.”
On The Kelly File, pollster Frank Luntz — no fan of Trump’s — said Donald casting these kind of aspersions on a U.S. senator was not presidential and possibly a turning point as it showed the public, indeed a decidedly conservative part of that public, growing unhappy with Donald. Perhaps. I’m not sure. It wasn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
Still, it showed someone who is really not learning as much as one would expect from the experience of running for office. You would think Trump, a casino owner, would know “there’s time to hold ’em and a time to fold ’em.” Apparently not.
But more importantly, the question of trust is just beginning to filter up. This is a touchy one for politicians, of course, although in the era of Hillary Clinton just about anybody breathing would look at least somewhat trustworthy by comparison. Nevertheless, Trump’s attack on Rubio over immigration isn’t as simple as it would appear superficially. Donald, up until quite recently, was on virtually every side of everything himself. Just like Rubio, the supposed squish of the Gang of Eight, he is a relatively newborn immigration hawk.
But which one is telling the truth now? My guess is both. There’s been so much attention focused on the issue it’s unlikely either would back down. Trump deserves credit for raising the immigration issue, but, believe it or not, there are other issues just as, possibly more, important. As I write, Putin seems to have moved in on not just Syria, but also Iraq. He has air power in both now, in open alliance with Iran, soon to be rolling in American dollars and nuclear armed. Bashar Assad looks to be safe as the southern tier of a re-upped Soviet Union. (Didn’t we beat those guys?) Xi Jinping apparently has given little, if anything, in negotiations with Obama on cyber security, the South China Sea or anything else. It’s not just our southern border that is under siege. Thanks to the worst president in our history, the USA is turning into the ghost of itself and taking the world down with it.
Who is the right person to right this ship? Maybe it will take someone with the bluster and moxie of Trump, a take-no-prisoners person. But before we commit, we should make bloody well sure that’s what he really is. Building golf courses and hotels proves very little, unless you see life as an expanded Monopoly game. And being seduced by someone who thinks he’s clever calling a U.S. senator a “clown” is, to put it mildly, unimpressive. I’m fascinated by all the people who think they’ve figured it out by now, who are ready to go all-in for one candidate or another, those candidates almost always people they have never met and only seen on television. Maybe the television is the operative part.
One of the frequently cited positives of a long primary season is that it gives the eventual winner a chance to hone his/her chops for the big event. I’d like to think that is happening now. But you’ll excuse me if I’m skeptical.
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