Capitol Beat Opinion

For Trump’s Excesses, the GOP Can Blame the Media and Itself

Linda Pentz
Written by Linda Pentz

So Donald Trump finally went too far.  Again.  Shocking.  As Sir John Gielgud said with perfectly acidic sarcasm in Arthur, “I’ll alert the media.”

Oh wait, it’s the media that has lapped up Trump’s every vituperative syllable for months, treating him as if he was either (a) a preposterous sideshow that they couldn’t resist covering ad nauseam or (b) a serious candidate who they couldn’t resist covering ad nauseam.

Now that Trump is the presumptive heir to the presidential throne (he is no republican with a small “r”), they are waking up to the fact that someone upon whom they have lavished saturated attention is a dangerously deranged egomaniac.

I’m only half joking when I say thank goodness Trump is stripping major media outlets of access passes.  They have given him altogether too much attention already.  (Yes, obviously it’s an ominous sign of disregard for the first amendment and the fourth estate.)

Meanwhile, the GOP continues to dance ever more frenzied versions of the masochism tango.  Almost moments after House Speaker, Paul Ryan — the one who did not want to be House Speaker — metamorphosed from the one who couldn’t endorse Trump to the one who did, he and other Republicans were squirming in surprise and regret at Trump’s racist dissing of U.S. District Judge, Gonzalo Curiel.

The brouhaha over Curiel is telling because the case over which the judge will preside in November has Nothing To Do With The Election!  It is a fraud case relating to Trump University.  It is about Trump the businessman.  Which is what his candidacy is also all about.  It’s a giant branding exercise.  How did the Republicans miss this memo?

The slurs against Curiel, like all Trump’s other racist, xenophobic and misogynist utterings, were just the warm-up act.  Things got orders of magnitude worse after the Orlando Pulse tragedy.  Predictably worse, which makes it hard to know what is more abhorrent: Trump’s self-aggrandizing reaction or the fact that no matter how fascistic he gets, Republicans continue to shrug, open wide the gate and let him in.

It almost warms my heart to see the despicable Sen. Mitch McConnell wring his hands over the latest Trump excesses.  Having thrown his support behind Trump, he is stunned to discover he is in league with Voldemort.

And so the panic is on.  While some Republicans scramble to unendorse Trump, or huddle in one of Mitt Romney’s mansions to ponder their future, others plot to liberate delegates and anoint a new Messiah.  A few, like Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, cling to delusional optimism.  Corker speculated that Trump might still “pivot,” which he is about as likely to do as pirouette.

Seriously, did the GOP honestly think that any of the sub-par candidates they threw out there to challenge Trump were likely to appeal to the conservative American voters whose agenda they had allowed the Tea Party to hijack and redefine unfettered?

The GOP faithful should have realized months ago that the vapid Marco Rubio, vacant Ben Carson and Dracula’s nephew, aka Ted Cruz, were never going to cut it.  After Carly Fiorina sang that running-mate bus song, even Cruz ran for the exits.

As for Jeb! and John Kasich, most people would be hard-pressed to come up with anything remarkable about either one.  Even writing this, nothing springs to mind.  There were some other candidates in there at some point too.  Who were they again?

These non-entities were the inevitable spawn of an obstructionist and do-nothing Republican party, led by people like McConnell, that has log-jammed Congress for close to eight years.

There will be more excesses from Trump, just as surely, tragically, as there will be more mass shootings.  Republicans are finally trying to do their own pivoting, away from Trump.  But it’s probably far too late.