A year ago, it was unthinkable, six months ago, improbable. But on Thursday night, Donald J. Trump will be, barring a riot of Chicago-style proportions, the Republican nominee for President.
That the emptiest suit in America, a bullying braggart of a man, a man with enough baggage to weigh down an ordinary candidate, but in this, the year of the angry and fearful, it seems that all the old rules don’t apply here.
Fourteen months ago, Trump was an employee of Mark Burnett, the “reality-show” TV producer of such fare as “Survivor,” “The Voice” and the Trump-led “Celebrity Apprentice.” Then, a month after NBC cancelled his show, he rode down the golden escalator at the building with his name on it, he announced he was running for President. Of the United States. Of America.
People, at first, thought it was a joke. After all, he was a man with no political experience, never ran for anything, never did anything besides brag about his “deals.” His opponents all looked at him as a novelty candidate, one that would fade quickly, especially after his comments about Mexicans, women, the disabled and anyone who dared cross him.
Plus, he was running against 15 others who wanted the nomination as well. At the first GOP debate, he accused Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly of having a vendetta against him after asking him about comments he had made about women in the past. Quickly, the field started to thin, from 15 down to 12, then 10 by the time the first caucuses and primaries rolled around. Trump continued to make outrageous comments about anyone. He incited violence at his rallies. “Stop Donald” movements sprung up in pockets, but it was too little, too late. He eventually vanquished all of them, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
His rhetoric has touched a nerve with people who both will and won’t vote for him. He revoked the Washington Post’s credentials. The Detroit News ran a Sunday editorial “Dump Trump,” begging the RNC to unbound the delegates on the first ballot so they could “vote their conscience.” Nothing worked.
Except this: Benghazi! Benghazi!! Benghazi!!! And emails. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will be nominated next week, was the target of eight investigations, each clearing her of wrongdoing in the death’s of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. However, the email probe stretched into the FBI and gave the “Industrial Investigation Complex” more sauce for the goose.
And just so people don’t forget, here’s a list of some of the outrageous statements made by the yammering yam.
■ “[Ted Cruz’s] father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up.” [Trump was right on one point: the whole thing is ridiculous.]
■ “An extremely credible source has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud”
■ “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”
■ “Oh, look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?”
■ “I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.”
■ “NBC News just called it ‘The Great Freeze’—coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the global warming hoax?”
■ A farmer told me “‘There is no drought [in California], they turn the water out into the ocean.’ And I said I’ve been hearing it. … There’s plenty of water.”
■ In the Philippines more than a century ago, Gen. John Pershing “took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood,” and shot 49 Muslim rebels. “The 50th person, he said, ‘You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem.”
■ “Throughout the Middle East, they’re chopping off heads of Christians; they’re chopping off heads of anybody who gets in the way; ; they’re drowning thirty, forty people at a time in heavy steel cages. As far as I’m concerned, waterboarding is absolutely fine, but we should go much further.” “We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game.”
■ The Trans-Pacific Partnership “was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.” [In fact, China is not a part of TTP.]
■ “Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [“Little Marco”] referred to my hands: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”
■ “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
■ “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
■ “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”
■ “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
■ “I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. … They love me.”
■ “He [John McCain]’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
■ “Nobody respects women more than Donald Trump.” he says. “I cherish women.” But he has said, “You have to treat [women] like shit.” And he refers to women as “bimbos,” “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs,” and “disgusting animals.” And: “A woman who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.”
■ “My favorite part [of Pulp Fiction] is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up. ‘Tell that bitch to be cool. Say: “Bitch be cool.”‘ I love those lines.”
■ When columnist Gail Collins called Trump a “financially embattled thousandaire,” he sent her a copy of the column with her picture circled and “The Face of a Dog!” written over it.”
■ “You know, it doesn’t really matter what they write [about you] as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
■ “Look at that face [referring to Carly Fiorina]! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
■ “She [Megyn Kelly] gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her—wherever.”
■ “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion. Now, she’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no — there’s nothing out there.”
■ “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.” “It did happen. I saw it.”
■ “Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy [reporter Serge Kovaleski, who is afflicted with a disease that limits the mobility of his limbs and causes his joints to lock].” Trump contorted his arm into a crooked pose and made a contorted face. “‘Uh, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, “I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’”
■ “George Will and Charles Krauthammer [both of whom have been for decades very prominent conservative Republicans] are “losers, just losers … Krauthammer is a jerk.” I get called by a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants, I get called names?” (Mr. Krauthammer is paralyzed from the waist down.)
■ It “is Hillary Clinton’s agenda” to “release the violent criminals from jail. She wants them all released.”
■ He termed right-wing conspiracy theories about the Clintons having murdered former White House aide Vince Foster “very serious” and said the circumstances of Foster’s death are “very fishy.” “I don’t bring up [Foster’s death],” he said while bringing it up, “because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.” [Multiple investigations, including one lasting years by Clinton-hater Ken Starr concluded that Foster’s death was a suicide.]
■ “The point is, you can never be too greedy.”
■ “The last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product … was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.”
■ “My IQ is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”
■ “I know words, I have the best words.”
■ “I’m the most successful person to ever run for the presidency, by far.”
■ “[Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg] has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements … her mind is shot – resign!”
■ And, of course, there is all the bullying and grade-school playground name-calling: “Little Marco,” “Low-energy Jeb,” “Lying Ted,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Pocahontas” …
■ “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.”
Those are just some of what he has said. But people say, “he speaks what I think.” Yeah, well, if he does, then America is doomed.