The Republicans are desperately trying to get rid of Donald Trump. I mean they have even asked him nicely to shut up, or at least dial it back a few notches. But Trump continues to be Trump, and he keeps rising in the polls. What’s a GOP to do?
Their plan was to wait for Trump to say something insulting, and then jump on him.
At a campaign forum on Saturday, Trump joked that he didn’t like McCain because he lost to Obama in 2008. And the moderator replied “He’s a war hero”.
Trump said “He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you.”
The next day, Trump refused to apologize to McCain, and doubled down by accusing McCain of not doing anything for veterans, saying “He’s all talk and he’s no action”.
So the Republicans jumped on Trump – with both feet. Rick Perry said that if Trump doesn’t apologize, he is unfit to be commander-in-chief of the United States. “Don’t question the men and women of the military who sacrifice and sometimes pay a huge price for our safety and our freedom and our economics.” Jeb Bush agreed, calling for an end to “slanderous attacks”, as did Bobby Jindal. Lindsey Graham said that Trump’s statement was a “lack of respect for those who have served – a disqualifying characteristic to be president.”
The Republican National Committee released a statement saying “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”
So, there’s just one problem with this mock righteousness by the GOP. Have they all forgotten the disgusting things they said about John Kerry?
UPDATE: And as some readers have pointed out, there is the smear campaign used against McCain himself during the 2000 GOP presidential primary. The attacks included slurs that McCain was crazy, a “Manchurian Candidate”, a traitor, that he fathered a black child (McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh), that his wife was a drug addict, and that he was a homosexual.
During a break in a debate, Bush put his hand on McCain’s arm and told him that he had no involvement in the attacks. McCain famously replied “Don’t give me that shit. And take your hands off me.” Before the attacks McCain was leading, but afterwards he was effectively defeated.