Donald Trump, Statesman

by Jonah Goldberg

If you follow me on Twitter — or, I guess, if you follow Donald Trump – you might have learned that according to “The Donald” the “once-great” National Review is going bankrupt because of yours truly:

One reason we’re going out of business, apparently, is because I am so stupid:

The good news (at least for The American Conservative, I guess) is that The Weekly Standard is apparently circling the bowl as well.

So what’s going on? Frankly, I’m not sure. Though, as with so many things, it’s obvious that Steve Hayes is partly to blame.

Last week, up in New Hampshire, Steve was on a panel and referred to Donald Trump as a “clown.”

In response, the famously tough businessman who boasts he can take on Putin, the Chinese Politburo, and the mullahs got very upset. And as any first-rate presidential aspirant would, started relentlessly tweeting like a 14-year-old girl about it. 

He also displayed his firm grasp of what people in our line of work do for a living:

Now, you might still be confused since Hayes is not, well, meAnd while Steve and I are sometimes confused for each other (a prominent pundit once talked to me for three minutes about my book on Dick Cheney), Trump seems to understand that we’re not the same person. So how did I get dragged into this?

I don’t really know. But it is true that I have criticized Trump in the past. Here’s me in 2011:

Like the scorpion in Aesop’s fables who must sting the frog because that’s simply what scorpions do, the world renowned, self-promoting billionaire-clown must tout himself with passion and narcissistic self-regard.

It was only a matter of time, for instance, before he came out with his own fragrance: Donald Trump Cologne by Donald Trump Eau De Toilettes. (You can find it on Amazon.com. One customer review is from a woman who discovered the scent as it wafted up from the stock boy at Toys R Us.)

But that’s not the smell that bothers me. It’s the stench of desperation coming up from those rallying around a Trump presidential bid.

Still, that was four years ago and my most recent comment about Trump was four months ago. A bit tongue-in-cheek, I called him the “bane of humanity” and chastised the media, including some of my colleagues at Fox News, for taking him so seriously.

I guess Trump’s Olympian self-regard can lead him to never forget a slight, harbor grudges against critics for a very long time, and drive him to engage in childish name-calling late into the night, which are obviously some of the attributes we all look for in a presidential candidate. A huge ego and a penchant for spite is totally the kind of guy we should entrust the nuclear football to. 

Still, I take this all very seriously. First of all, I love National Review. And while it seems like Mr. Trump is under the impression that I am somehow running the magazine, maybe he knows something I don’t. After all, any man who could bankrupt a casino knows more about bankruptcy than I could ever learn.

Trump also knows more about self-promotion than almost anybody alive, Lady Gaga included. So he must have some kind of plan here. And if his goal is to get people talking about him — and that’s always one of his goals — it’s already succeeded. But the overwhelming reaction on Twitter has been very negative (thanks for the support folks). And if the real aim is a run for the GOP nomination, I’m not sure I understand why he wants to arouse the animosity of not just me and Steve, but Michelle Malkin, George Will, and Bret Baier (while praising MSNBC’s Ed Schultz):

Again, if Trump is a tenth as brilliant as he says he is, there’s a really clever scheme hiding amidst all of this juvenile whining, like a shiny pony obscured by piles of manure. The thing is, I’m too dumb to see it. All I see is a guy who’s been preening for attention with bogus talk about running for president for years who’s deeply offended that nobody believes him or cares anymore.

Anyway, you can read all of his tweets here. It’s not exactly like reading Jefferson’s diary. 

If I didn’t find it all so hilarious, I’d think it was just a little sad.

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