So far, Donald Trump's presidential campaign has lived up to, and arguably exceeded, every expectation for self-beclowning while also simultaneously having detonated a 50 megaton crazy bomb inside the GOP. Indeed, every time he's opened his yap since announcing, something horrendous has spilled out. Whoever started the rumor that Trump might be a Democratic Party apparatchik sent to infiltrate the GOP nomination process and detonate one crazy-bomb after another might actually be onto something. Trump's been acting erratically enough to merit some serious questioning not only about his party loyalty, but also whether he's caught in the throes of a nervous breakdown. Maybe it's both.
Trump might very well be the least self-aware politician in the history of modern campaigning, not only because he stupidly grappled onto the third and fourth rails of Republican politics -- rape and race -- but in the wake of doing so he can't stop responding to the predictable backlash, thus keeping the story about calling Mexicans "rapists" alive for much longer than it otherwise would've been. If he was half the politician he thinks he is, he'd simply shut the hell up and allow the story to fade away. By now, and due mostly to his total lack of self-control, everyone knows what he said about Mexicans, and they're verbally and deservedly smacking him in the back of his clownish head.
Let's first recap some of the most recent responses to Trump's Mexicans-are-rapists statement, then we'll get into Trump's responses:
• Mitt Romney, who deafeningly tooted nearly every imaginable racial dog-whistle during his 2012 campaign (remember "Obama Isn't Working" and Obama's policies are "foreign?"), denounced Trump's rapists remark at an Independence Day parade in New Hampshire, saying, "I think he made a severe error in saying what he did about Mexican-Americans." Trump was talking about undocumented workers, so it's refreshing that Romney would add "Americans" to that title.
• George Pataki, meanwhile, referred to Trump's remarks "divisive rhetoric," which is clearly soft-pedaling what ought to be described as "unforgivably stupid and offensive." But we'll take it.
• On Fox News Sunday, George Will couldn't stop talking about Trump's awfulness, going so far as to compare Trump to the notorious Todd Akin, who infamously described rape as "legitimate rape." Ouch.
"Picture him on stage in [the GOP debate in] Cleveland," Will said on Fox News Sunday this morning. "He says something hideously inflammatory — which is all he knows how to say — and then what do the other nine people on stage do? Do they either become complicit in what he said by their silence, or do they all have to attack him? The debate gets hijacked. The process gets hijacked. At the end of the day he is a one-man Todd Akin. He’s Todd Akin with ten different facets."
I'm not sure what exactly Will means by "Todd Akin with ten different facets," but sure. Why not.
• The reigning Miss Universe, Pauline Vega, called Trump's remarks "hurtful and unfair."
• Jeb Bush, whose wife Columba is Mexican, said:
“To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party,” Mr. Bush said about Mr. Trump, whose comments caused NBC, Univision, Macy’s and others to cut ties with him. “He’s doing this — he’s not a stupid guy, so I don’t assume he thinks that every Mexican crossing the border is a rapist. He’s doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention, which seems to be the organizing principle of his campaign,” Mr. Bush said.
• But, actually, the most remarkable attack on Trump came from this guy:
That's Rick Perry aboard a border patrol gun boat practically dry-humping an automatic rifle aimed at Mexico, which, come to think of it, might actually be more offensive than what Trump said. And yet, the guy who dressed up in border patrol regalia with Sean Hannity ripped into Trump's statement about Mexicans, saying:
"Donald Trump does not represent the Republican party," Perry added. "I was offended by his remarks. Hispanics in America, and Hispanics in Texas, from the Alamo to Afghanistan, have been extraordinary people... they have served nobly. To paint with that broad a brush — he’s going to have to defend those remarks. I never will."
Nope, Perry won't defend Trump's remarks, but give the former Texas governor a big ass machine gun and he'll annihilate Mexican immigrants by the boat load. But calling them "rapists" is indefensible to Perry. Don't get me wrong, they're both demons on immigration, but it's hilarious to observe a guy who wants to shoot Mexicans scolding another guy who believes Mexicans are rapists.
The only two candidates to rush to Trump's defense have been, naturally, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie. Clearly none of these guys got the GOP memo about Latino outreach. And you know what? Great. There's really nothing wrong with the Republican Party committing political suicide. Along those lines, Trump is the first to tie cinder blocks to his feet and jump head-first into the Hudson. Trump, suffering from an almost Tourettes-like compulsion to counter-attack, has responded to all of the attacks.
So how did Trump respond to all of this criticism? Let's review:
• Trump called Pauline Vega a "hypocrite," saying on Sunday: "Miss Universe, Pauline Vega, criticized me for telling the truth about illegal immigration, but then said she would keep the crown. Hypocrite."
• He hit back at Jeb Bush, writing:
"Today, Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people," Trump wrote Saturday. "Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come 'out of love.'"
Maybe Trump is right and Bush doesn't know anything about border security or, for that matter, Iraq. But what does Trump calling Mexicans "rapists" have anything to do with border security?
• Trump also went ad hominem against Rick Perry, criticizing the former governor's trademark smart-guy glasses:
• And finally, during an interview on Fox News (Trump's best friend right now), he lamented why-oh-why everyone thinks he's a racist:
"It seems like I’m sort of the whipping post because I bring it up. And I don’t understand whether you are liberal or whether you are conservative or whether you are Republican, Democrat — why wouldn’t you talk about a problem?" Trump said Saturday. "The crime is raging. It’s violent, and people don’t want to even talk about it. If you talk about it, you are a racist. I don’t understand it."
Aww. Poor you. I've said this about celebrities who market in controversial statements, and it totally applies here: if you deliberately say something outrageous, don't act all shocked and hurt when people become outraged. It's part of the game. If Trump doesn't want to be a "whipping post" then stop saying things that incite people to whip him. There's this little thing called accountability, and, frankly, I thought the Republican Party is all about taking personal responsibility. Not Trump, though, who thinks everyone is stupid except him.
But as Trump ricochets around the GOP field, wreaking mayhem and undermining the party, allow me to join the chorus of liberals who are hoping he'll just keep going. Because in terms of annihilating the GOP brand, he's doing a fantastic job. In fact, I might actually donate some money to his campaign today.