Politics is a rough and tumble game. It’s not for everybody. Especially running for President. Chances are (unless you’re Barack Obama) you’re going to have your life scrutinized like it has never been before, particularly by the media.
When Bill Kristol announced the third party candidate he had tapped to take on Donald Trump was Army Reserve Major, attorney and National Review writer, David French, most people responded with a collective, “Who?” Naturally, fans of National Review and those within conservative circles recognized the name.
The media and also fans of Donald Trump treated the announcement with mockery but as we’re finding out, there was somebody behind the scenes who was taking this pretty seriously: Donald Trump.
We know Trump’s instinct when challenged is to attack no matter how small or large the challenge may be. During the primaries he’d consistently attack challengers who weren’t polling anywhere near the top. It didn’t matter. Trump saw them as something in his way, regardless. And he went after them. He says he is the victim in his Trump University case that should have been thrown out and he’s going to win easily. Yet he attacks the judge in the case almost every day.
It appears that perhaps Trump and his team didn’t see David French as something they could just wave away. I suspect they knew how many conservatives were not going to vote for Trump and even if French pulled in numbers similar to that of Ralph Nader in 2000, it would be more than enough to lose the race to Hillary Clinton.
That could not happen. From National Review:
The prospect of a French candidacy did get the attention of serious conservatives, who were quick to offer their support. “I know David French to be an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person,” Romney wrote on Twitter. “I look forward to hearing what he has to say.” Sasse told National Review last week, “David French is a serious, trustworthy man who has served his country with honor. I’m interested to hear what he says in the coming weeks.”
It was enough, apparently, to spook the Trump campaign. Sources say that on Wednesday, influential supporters of the campaign, prompted by the campaign itself, began reaching out to the Republican National Committee, to Kristol, and to French attempting to quash the bid. One Trump operative reached French’s wife’s family in Tennessee and told them, according to French, that he was “instructed to call and deliver a message that the race would be very difficult for me.”
“It was a pretty big assault that really put pressure on David that this not happen,” says a source familiar with the communications.
Seriously? Veiled threats? Is that what this has come to?
Now of course, once this gets out, the Trump camp will deny it loudly. Considering Trump’s behavior in the past and the tactics of the goons he has working for him, it would not surprise me one bit if this were true. Besides, David and Nancy French come off as far more honorable and trustworthy than Trump and his merry band of sycophants.
What does this tell you?
1. That Trump is really worried about a legitimate third party/independent run. Gary Johnson is pulling some serious numbers already. If somebody else with firepower got into the into the race, look out.
2. Trump’s nervousness is going to spill over into going after anybody in a nuclear fashion who he sees as a threat.
Even if that means threatening the wife of a potential candidate.