Donald Trump continued to accelerate the implosion of his campaign today, as he engaged in the kind of behavior you might call out your 14-year-old son for.
After fellow candidate for president Lindsey Graham began the high school hijinks by calling him a “jackass,” Trump, like any adolescent, fired back with his own juvenile epithets and then went Graham one better and gave out his personal cell number.
Trump began his rambling diatribe by calling Graham a “lightweight” and an “idiot.”
“He doesn’t seem like a very bright guy. He actually probably seems to me not as bright as Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry probably is smarter than Lindsey Graham,” Trump added, riffing on prior insults he had lobbed at the former Texas governor.
Then Trump transitioned to an embarrassing anecdote, which the billionaire real estate developer said was from a few years ago, in which Graham called Trump “begging” him for a good reference with Trump’s pals on the Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends.”
Trump said that he promised Graham he would put out a good word, and the South Carolina Republican then gave him his phone number to follow up.
Trump then read out what he said was Graham’s phone number, telling his supporters to “try it.”
“I wonder what caused that,” Graham told a POLITICO reporter who dialed the number, about the influx of calls.
“When it comes to the Donald, nothing surprises me anymore. It’s just too bad, really,” he said, adding that Trump is taking away from a discussion on the Iran deal and more substantive policy issues.
The biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s antics, Graham added, are President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The feud between Graham and Trump has escalated in recent days, especially as the South Carolina Republican has ripped into Trump for saying that Graham’s good friend, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is not a war hero because he was captured.
On Monday evening, Graham told CNN that Trump was “becoming a jackass.”
By Tuesday, Graham was appearing on “CBS This Morning” and calling Trump “the world’s biggest jackass.” Even “the jackasses are offended” by Trump’s remarks, Graham added.
Trump seems obsessed with the intelligence of the candidates, suggesting he is insecure about his own intellectual chops. Is he just too stupid to understand policy? He certainly doesn’t talk like he even has a passing familiarity with the vital issues facing the country.
Yeah, but when it comes to name calling, he’s a fricking George Washington.
You can’t win the presidency 16 months before the election. But you might lose it. And I’m not talking about the two candidates tossing infantile spit balls at one another. I’m talking about the entire Republican field being so damaged by this display of emotional immaturity that it damages the brand from top to bottom.
The serious candidates are going to have to put their differences aside briefly to come down hard in unison on Trump, Graham, and any other candidate seeking headlines at the expense of the seriousness of the process. Trump may be a joke to some, but his clownish antics are making the entire GOP a laughingstock.
And the only thing laughingstocks get to run is a circus.