If Trump doesn’t apologize in his speech tonight, it’s a sign he doesn’t really want to be president. Good God, the GOP is basically minutes away from coronating him, and he manages to win this kind of sympathy for the man he was about to eliminate from the race, even from Cruz haters who just hours ago were laughing at Cruz as supposedly the most detested, and detestable, man in politics? I’m referring to the folks on MSNBC, where earlier today, on Morning Joe, panelists were positively gleeful about the impending destruction of Ted Cruz. Raucous laughter from the entire panel greeted clips of Cruz; Mika Brzezinski even asked why Trump bothers ridiculing Cruz, when Cruz makes himself look so ridiculous.
Within the last hour, on that same network, Chris Matthews said that this comment about the Kennedy assassination, unlike many others Trump has made, could hurt him in the general election. I would go further, and say that it could imperil his victory in the GOP nomination struggle. This is the one that might make Republicans finally reconsider, make them think, “Okay, he’s won strong majorities in many of our primaries . . . but maybe nominating him is simply wrong.”
The Republican party has shown this year that it has a political death wish. The Republican frontrunner has shown today that he, too, might have one. If he wants the Republican nomination, never mind the presidency, Trump has to apologize. Before this gaffe, I thought that Cruz would stay in the GOP race for the same reason Sanders will stay in the Democratic one: to pick up the pieces in case a cataclysmic event — such as a medical emergency, an act of violence, or an indictment — takes out the frontrunner. Today, Trump has reminded us that he is fully capable of creating cataclysms on his own.
Mr. Trump, we all say things we don’t mean. Now is the time for graciousness. If you decide not to muster that necessary effort tonight, even people who voted for you might reconsider. If you don’t actually want to be president, please let us know; the Republicans, and America, still have time to find somebody else.