This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
By no reasonable measure did Donald Trump have what is traditionally defined as a good week. As the candidate sunk to unforeseen new lows, speculation abounded about whether he might be mentally ill, Fox Newsians openly snickered about him and Republicans leaders began to publicly decamp.
But it’s been mighty hard to look away from the crashing and burning. Here are some of the lowlights from the Trump-o-verse during the week that was.
1. Trump spokespeople spin wildly.
We’re not sure what week Trump spokesman Jason Miller just experienced, but he told Fox’s Brian Kilmeade on Friday that it had been a “really good few days” on the campaign trail.
Hmmmm, let’s do the week in review for a quick sec. Trump picked a fight with a hero soldier’s family, was condemned by the entire universe for doing so, bullied a baby and mother out of a rally, bragged about being handed a Purple Heart, lied about top-secret Iran videos, was called an "unwitting agent" of Putin by an ex-CIA chief, flip-flopped on endorsing Paul Ryan and tanked in the polls against Hillary Clinton.
Yep, “really good” just about nails it.
To be clear, having a dubious relationship with reality is pretty much a prerequisite for being part of team Trump. Apart from Miller’s delusional statement, Katrina Pierson was spinning wildly like an unhinged top, about how, actually, President Obama was to blame for Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan’s 2004 death.
Unfortunately for this line of reasoning — and we use the word loosely — George W. Bush was the president at the time. And Illinois Senator Barack Obama had rather notably voted against the Iraq war the previous year.
Pierson, it should be said, acknowledged she did not have her facts right the next day — something her boss has literally never been known to do. (Trump likely would have said, "Well, some people think Obama was president in 2004.")
"Donald Trump wants to win this election," Miller told Brian Kilmeade. “I think Donald Trump knows what it takes to go in and win this election. He knows what he needs to do to win, he is doing that.”
2. Ben Carson does something we thought impossible.
When every other sentient human being thinks you have been colossally dumb for attacking a military family who has lost a son in battle, Ben Carson can be relied on to march to a drummer whose beat he alone can hear.
Serving dutifully as a Trump surrogate, the retired neurosurgeon asserted on CNN and confirmed on Fox News that maybe the grieving Khan family should initiate a little makeup session with Trump.
“I don’t think that it would be harmful if they apologized to him and he apologized to them,” Carson told Wolf Blitzer, “but I don’t see that happening.”
Say what? Blitzer wanted to know.
“Why should they apologize to him?” the anchor asked.
That was also Fox star Megyn Kelly’s question for the good doctor, who has previously demonstrated his bedside manner for grieving families by blaming mass shooting victims for just sitting there and getting shot. Fox had conducted a poll, Kelly pointed out, about how likely voters felt about Trump’s insulting the Gold Star Khan family. Shockingly, most people did not much care for it — 69 percent said it was out of bounds.
Carson, who often sounds reasonable when he begins talking, did think it is generally a good idea to acknowledge such a family’s sacrifice, and if they speak out against you, give them a “pass and move on,” but the Khans had falsely accused Trump of not knowing the Constitution. “Where did they get that from?” he said. “That’s unreasonable.”
Two words. Muslim ban.
Kelly pressed on, and Carson went into full crazy lecture mode, ending with "radical Islamic terrorists" are "enemies conquering us."
3. Maine’s gov says Trump needs to control himself.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage is generally a big fan of Trump. He even fancies himself Trump-like. And he is a bit Trump-like in the sense that he revels in insulting people he doesn’t agree with, fights childishly petty political battles and is totally racist.
But even LePage, who complained about drug dealers impregnating white girls in Maine and suggesting guillotining criminals, thinks Trump needs to modulate his tone. Since Trump was campaigning in Maine this week, LePage even got to tell Trump as much.
“I told him one word: discipline,” LePage recounted on the Howie Carr Show, according to a clip on Buzzfeed News. “He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘From here on out, everybody’s gonna wanna try to trip you so you gotta have discipline. He said, ‘Oh, I get it. I get it.’”
But Carr got a little stuck on the fact that Trump asked, "what do you mean?" He thought, “that’s not a good sign.”
LePage said he told Donald he meant “discipline, discipline!” He even repeated it twice to make sure Trump understood.
Lest we think LePage was acting the part of a rational man, he soon dispelled that notion. He was merely temporarily the proverbial one-eyed king in the realm of the blind. The reason he wants Trump to be “disciplined!” is that he believes the fate of the republic lies in the reality TV star’s hands.
“I told him, this election’s bigger than you. This election’s about the United States," LePage told Carr. "I told him if you don’t win, if you don’t win, we’re gonna have to take the stars off the flag and put bananas on."
4. Sean Hannity apparently did not get the memo.
It’s hard to pluck out the most embarrassing thing Trump did or said this week given that he inhabits what has politely been called by the Poynter Institute a “post-fact world.” One excellent candidate for the booby prize was his claim to have seen a top-secret video of $400 million in ransom being taken off a plane in Iran to pay for hostages, a video which does not exist. Full stop. Over and out.
Uncharacteristically, faced with incontrovertible evidence, even Trump sort of admitted he was mistaken — that the plane he saw was actually in Geneva, that he saw it on television and it was a "nice plane," and that it didn’t have money on it. And having set the truth bar so very low, Trump was even praised by some for making this brave and exceedingly rare admission that he may have gotten a few facts wrong.
But this did not prevent Trump fanboy Sean Hannity from continuing to perpetuate the myth of the Iran tape. In fairness, Hannity was still reeling from being called an idiot by Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens ("he’s the dumb ass,” Hannity retorted. Ooh, good one), so he may have missed Trump’s tweeted correction.
Having defended every other insane, racist and inflammatory thing Trump has said, Hannity swung into action to repeat Trump’s already retracted claim.
“You know, we now have video of the ransom that Iran is now showing," Hannity told a guest. "You know, for all the talk about how the president talked about, well, this great new Iranian deal, and we give them $150 billion, we give them $400 million in cash and I guess euros and francs, and we send it in an unmarked cargo plane and it’s on pallets and they get the cash.”
And that's going to be used for terrorism yada-yada.
5. Clint Eastwood lays out his terrible reasons for supporting Trump.
It came to light this week that the man who gave one of history's most unhinged convention speeches addressed to an empty chair four years ago is voting for a man with an empty head (some say empty soul, but whatever) for president come November. We are talking, of course, about Clint Eastwood, the right-wing celebrity and gallant fighter against the scourge of political correctness, who bestowed his political wisdom in an interview coming out in the September issue of Esquire.
“He’s onto something,” Eastwood said about Trump, “because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation.”
Eastwood, whose support for Trump does not rise to the level of an endorsement, so sadly no convention mime routine for him this year, doesn’t like the fact that everybody’s “walking on eggshells,” these days. Because, when he “grew up, those things weren’t called racist.”
That there is some impenetrable logic, all right.
Eastwood does admit that sometimes Trump says some dumb things, maybe even “a lot of dumb things.” But everyone does so what’s the big deal?!
“The press and everybody’s going, ‘Oh, well, that’s racist,’ and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it,” Eastwood ranted. “It’s a sad time in history.”
That it is, Clint. That it is.