Depending on the outcome, when the history of the 2016 presidential election is written, this will be known as the week the wheels fell off of Donald Trump’s campaign.
No one, but no one in politics had a worse week than than Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. A week of bizarre behavior and even more bizarre statements sent him plummeting in the polls. One poll has him trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 15 points, another by nine points, and even a Fox News poll has him trailing by Clinton by 10 points.
Republicans are freaking out, and with good reason. Trump’s polling numbers in key battleground states are so bad that he might suck some down-ballot candidates into the abyss with him. The stink is getting so bad that Republicans are staying away from his Green Bay, Wis. campaign rally in droves today. Word is that some Republicans are planning to stage an intervention. Other Republicans are abandoning Trump like rats leaving a sinking ship.
- On Monday, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) became the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Hillary Clinton. Hanna called Trump a “national disgrace.” In the ad titled “country first,” Coffman says that he’ll “stand up” to the GOP nominee. “People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’” the 30-second ad begins. “Honestly, I don’t care for him much.”
- The Harvard Republican club released a statement denouncing Trump as “a threat to the survival of the Republic.”
- Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) became the first congressional candidate ever to release an ad denouncing his party’s nominee.
- Republican consultant Liz Mair bashed Trump live on CNN. “His message is being a loud-mouthed dick, basically, and going out there and offending people and then engaging in a bunch of airing of grievances,” she said.
What’s amazing is that Trump has done all of this damage to himself. For a guy who loves playing the victim, that’s quite a feat. Hillary Clinton’s campaign didn’t have to break a sweat to make any of this happen. It got so bad that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly couldn’t even keep a straight face while listening to Trump ranting at a rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., and rehashing some of his worst moments so far.
“Must he help them so generously every day,” Kelly asks? Well, some people are starting to think maybe he just can’t help himself. Sure, Trump’s behavior has some people batting around conspiracy theories about him once again: he’s a Clinton plant, a Russian agent working for Putin, etc.
The problem is that it takes control and discipline to pull off a conspiracy, and it’s apparent that Trump has neither in large quantities. It’s more likely that Trump just can’t help himself, which has more than a few Republicans questioning his sanity. He may be “the healthiest candidate ever to run for president,” but not from the neck up.Bizarre rants and personal feuds appeal to Trump’s base, but not necessarily to the rest of the electorate.
For those of us who already knew he wasn’t playing with a full deck from the start, it’s no surprise that Donald Trumped himself. Here’s a look back at how he did it, and in just over a week.
- At a rally on Monday, in a bizarre rant against wind power, Trump told the crowd, ““The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.” Actually, clean windows kill like a hundred times more birds than wind turbines. Pet cats kill even more. Seems the way to save birds is to ban windows and cats.
- Trump told a crowd in Columbus, Ohio, “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.” He followed up by telling Fox New host Sean Hannity, “I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.”
- President Obama even lost his legendary cool for a moment. “I don’t even really know where to start on answering this question,” the president said at a news conference. “Of course the election will not be rigged! What does that mean?!”
- At a rally in Colorado Springs, Trump blasted a fire marshal for daring tell him he could’t have more than 1,500 people in a room during the rally. Trump said he believed the fire marshal was “probably a Democrat” who didn’t want the world to see the size of his crowd.
- Just before a Columbus, Ohio event, Trump called reporters to complain about another fire marshal. “For political reasons, they said in this massive building you’re not allowed to have anymore than 1,000 people,” Trump fumed. Someone should tell Trump that in the event of fire, dead supporters don’t vote.
- Just as his battle with Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan was starting to fade, Trump said that women could avoid sexual harassment by changing careers. Asked in a USA Today interview how he would feel if his daughter Ivanka was harassed at work, Trump said, “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company.”
- In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Eric Trump suggested that women invite sexual harassment, when he said that his sister Ivanka is “a strong, powerful woman” who wouldn’t “allow herself to be subjected to that.
- Appearing on CNN’s “News Day,” Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany repeated Trump’s point, saying, “If someone is harassing you, if someone’s being aggressive, move jobs, get away from the situation.”
- Without a hint or irony, Trump slams The New York Times, complaining “They don’t write good.”
- At a rally in Loudon County, Va., Trump lashed out at the mother of a crying infant. “I love babies. I hear that baby crying. I like it,” Trump said. But the kid didn’t take the hint, and kept crying. “Actually I was only kidding, you can get the baby out of here,” Trump said, and then went on to joke, “I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking,” Maybe the Trump campaign has a “one crybaby per rally” policy, and Trump’s usually it.
- By the way, the Trump’s fans really liked when he was mean to that crying baby.
- When a veteran at the Virginia rally gave him a copy of a Purple Heart, Trump said, “I’ve always wanted to get the purple heart. This was much easier. Nice, coming from a guy who got five draft deferments.
- Steven Colbert quipped on “The Late Show” that Trump deserved a Purple Heart for “shooting himself in the foot.”
- Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” reported that a foreign policy expert who briefed Trump told him that the Republican nominee repeatedly asked him about our country’s reluctance to use nuclear weapons. “Three times he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, why can’t we use them?’,“ Scarborough said. ”That’s one of the reasons he doesn’t have foreign policy experts around.” That’s right. A guy who can’t handle a crying baby could have his finger on the button.
- In response Rep. Ted Lieu announced plans to introduce legislation that would make it more difficult for presidents to launch nuclear strikes. Just in case.
- Trump repeatedly claimed to have seen a “top secret” video of money being unloaded from a plane in Iran, even after his campaign said no such video existed. Trump claimed the money was ransom for hostages. The Wall Street Journal reported that the US transferred $400 million to Iran as part of a settlement in an old dispute over weapons sales.
- Potential First Lady Melania Trump is under fire after a Politico article questioned how she came to live and work in the US in the mid–1990s, after a photo shoot from the period noted she was here in 1995, when she claimed to have moved here in 1996. Papers please, Ms. Trump?
- Hoping, perhaps to change the subject, Trump ended the week by introducing his all white, all male economic team.