Back in the halcyon days when the GOP still had a reasonable chance to nominate someone not named Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, the execrable Peter King said out loud what many Republicans were privately thinking about the choice between Trump and Cruz.
“Ted Cruz to me is a phony. I don’t trust him,” King said Friday. “I think Donald Trump, behind it all, is the more reasonable person, and I believe that he has enough common sense but, again, he has to show that. To me, Ted Cruz is hopeless. He’s irredeemable.
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“But Donald Trump, to be an effective candidate in the general election, has to show substance,” King told CNN. “He has to show that he’s gone just beyond, you know, the name-calling and the sound bites and, again, he’s not my first choice for candidate but he’s got to show that he knows what he’s talking about.”
At the time, many people – including all of us here at RedState – noted that King, McConell, and the rest of the GOP caucus just were wishcasting the ability to sound like a reasonable person in the general on to Donald Trump, and that there was no evidence at all that Trump had the capacity to be anything other than the loudmouthed ignoramus he was playing on the campaign trail. Even people who knew Trump behind the scenes whispered that what you saw with Trump was what you got – he knew little, said much, and you either got on board or got run over.
Still, the GOP establishment hoped that his primary persona was, to paraphrase Paul Manafort, just an act designed to dupe the rubes, and that once the rest of the Republicans were disposed of, some super refined statesman was going to emerge and save all their butts.
Fast forward two months, and Donald Trump has had the opportunity to show that “he knows what he’s talking about,” to quote Rep. King. And how does Rep. King think he’s doing?
Republican Rep. Peter King told CNN this week that so far, Trump has failed to make a coherent case against the Obama administration’s foreign policy. He forcefully pushed back on Trump’s proposal to keep Muslims out of the country.
“He has to show more sophistication and more knowledge and nuance,” King said. “You’re not gonna win just by bombing, you’re not going to win just by kicking Muslims out — in fact, I wouldn’t even support that.”
The New York congressman added that he fears Trump’s rhetoric on national security could hurt the public’s broader perception of the GOP’s ability to tackle terrorism: “Just from a political point of view, for Obama’s policies get the upper hand at a time when we should have the upper hand even makes it more distressing.”
Look, I don’t know how else to say this, but get bent, Peter King. You chose this. This is what you wanted, rather than deal with the possibility of someone who might actually interrupt your buddies’ turn at the government feeding trough.
Of course, the problem is much worse than even Peter King is willing to acknowledge. Right now, the overwhelming majority of American voters hate Donald Trump and don’t trust him on literally any issue over Hillary Clinton – except terrorism, one area in which he has a very narrow (50-45%) edge. The tragedy in Orlando could have been an opportunity for Trump to show that he was serious about keeping the country safe – especially since Hillary is clearly not.
However, his first response (a response which was totally in keeping with his character) was to congratulate himself for no discernible reason, then to issue a tone deaf and ill informed diatribe at Hillary Clinton. A humongous terrorism story hits the news at a critical moment of Trump’s campaign and Trump bungled the response so badly that the American public gave a substantial advantage to both Obama and Clinton on their responses to the attack.
There is no way that anyone with a functional brain should not have seen this coming from Trump. At no point during the campaign did he allow even a glimpse of a competent or well informed candidate to peek through. Even his supposed “new tone” speeches after winning the primaries on March 15th were shallow, petty, self-congratulatory hot messes. This racist, ignorant crank is exactly the person who paraded around on the campaign trail for nine months.
Anyone who convinced themselves that Trump was or could be someone different allowed their concern for their own crony capitalism to cloud their judgment. And such a person should never be trusted by conservatives again.
And make no mistake – virtually everyone in both the House and Senate fits this description. They deserve the electoral shelling that is coming to them.