First it was Rick Perry that caught Trump’s attention. Then it was [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ]. Now he’s focusing on [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ]’s Mini-Me, the lovely and talented [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ]. In all fairness to Trump, Graham set out to pick the fight. He probably figured he had to stick up for his BFF from Arizona and that he’d never really done anything that Trump could criticize.
On Monday evening, Graham told CNN that Trump was “becoming a jackass.”
By Tuesday, Graham was appearing on “CBS This Morning” and calling Trump “the world’s biggest jackass.” Even “the jackasses are offended” by Trump’s remarks, Graham added.
Asked whether he thinks Trump can sustain his place at the top of Republican presidential primary polls, Graham — who is also seeking the nomination — said no.
“I think the beginning of the end has come. The beginning of the end has arrived because he’s crossed a line with the American people that will not be tolerated.”
A few of observations. First, the criticism of Trump by most of us was not that he criticized McCain’s war record. That has been attacked by Democrats since 2000. No one can deny Trump’s statement that McCain is a hero because he was a POW. That is when he received his decoration for valor and prior to being shot down he was not fast-tracking toward flag rank. The criticism was that in restating an [mc_name name=’Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’F000457′ ] joke about McCain, he broadened it so it applied to all POWs. Insulting [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] is not going to lose any candidate a single vote in a GOP primary anywhere in the nation so, Graham’s overwrought “will not be tolerated” is sort of silly. And lastly, is Donald Trump really the guy you want to call a ‘jackass?’
Today, after Graham’s CBS appearance, Trump was speaking in South Carolina and lowered the boom on Graham:
What follows is 3:08 of awesome… with a lot of Trump-esque self-puffery. The part about [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] begging Trump for a job reference is golden.
Then Trump transitioned to an embarrassing anecdote, which the billionaire real estate developer said was from a few years ago, in which Graham called Trump “begging” him for a good reference with Trump’s pals on the Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends.”
Trump said that he promised Graham he would put out a good word, and the South Carolina Republican then gave him his phone number to follow up.
Trump then read out what he said was Graham’s phone number, telling his supporters to “try it.”
Some folks are going to complain about him giving out Graham’s cell phone number. I don’t see the big deal. Graham can go down to the 7-11 and buy another one. But not only is the number being out there an annoyance for Graham, he can’t deny Trump’s story about begging for a job reference and then asking for a campaign contribution.
I haven’t decided yet if Trump is actually running for president or he’s just out to have a great time, screw with some seriously self-important people, and remind people who he is. To a great extent, I am in agreement with the ‘op-ed’ ‘Donald Trump’ wrote in The Onion
The latest polls are out, and just as I predicted, I’m leading the Republican presidential race by a wide margin. You might be wondering how that could be. After all, it’s hardly been a month since I entered the field and I’ve already alienated America’s largest immigrant population, seen dozens of my high-profile business deals implode one after the other, and publicly insulted a national hero’s military service, all while not offering a single viable policy idea. But none of that matters at all, and my candidacy continues to surge forward, because none of you—not a single one of you—can look away. Not even for a second.
Admit it: You people want to see just how far this goes, don’t you?
My campaign’s just barely begun and I’ve already got you begging for more. Sure, you can say you oppose me or that you don’t even take me seriously. But let me ask you: How many articles have you read about [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] lately? How many news segments have you watched on Bobby Jindal? Or [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]? But if those stories have the name “Donald Trump” in them, well, look who suddenly can’t get enough.
Sometimes he goes off the rails but the fact that he’s gaining steam in the polls shows that he is speaking to the anger and frustration of a great number of Americans. The other candidates would do well to think about that and instead of emulating the tired, bumbling John McCain and calling them ‘crazies’ they should realize that something he says resonates. Though I’m not a Trump fan and I find him to be equal parts amusing and irritating his presence in the race doesn’t offend me. Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rand Paul, and John Kasich offend me. People recycling the same failed policies and expecting us to vote for them offend me.
My fear is that he is a reincarnation of Ross Perot and he’s going to ride this particular horse until he decides he can’t win and he quits throwing things into confusion. This is a different race than 1992 and 1996, where Bill Clinton won with less than 50% of the vote thanks to Perot. The policy differences between George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole and Bill Clinton revolved around how much more money the federal government should get. The national security environment was somnolent. Not for nothing was the period referred to as the ‘holiday from history.’
Today the situation is grim at home and disastrous abroad. If Trump is going to run he needs to show some signs that he is serious. We can’t afford to elect Hillary Clinton because Trump ran a vanity third party campaign.