The Corner

National Security & Defense

Trump Starts to Show the Real Trump

Last week I wrote about Donald Trump:

He reminds me a lot of Mitt Romney, at least in one respect. I always said that Romney “spoke conservatism as a second language” (a line some people ripped off, btw). That’s why Romney called himself a “severe conservative,” talked about how he “likes to fire people,” and anathematized the “47 percent.”

Trump is even less truly conservative, but he’s trying to speak in an even grubbier dialect of conservatism. And, having grown up in the tabloid politics of New York, he’s better at faking it. Eventually, I suspect, this will be the cause of his undoing. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know about conservatism, and at some point he will say something that even his biggest fans will recognize as a damning revelation about the real man beneath the schtick. The only question is whether he implodes before or after he does permanent damage to the GOP’s chances in 2016.

Today I heard about Trump’s outrageous (and outrageously stupid) comments about John McCain. From Steve Hayes’ excellent account:

Trump was answering questions from Republican pollster Frank Luntz on stage when he declared that John McCain, who spent six years as a POW in Vietnam, was not a war hero. Trump went on to express his preference for soldiers who weren’t captured, suggesting a belief that prisoners of war have some say in their captivity. Luntz had asked Trump about his reaction to McCain’s comment that Trump had stirred up the “crazies” with his candidacy. When Trump attacked McCain, Luntz asked if Trump was comfortable with that kind of criticism of a war hero.

“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” The comments clearly shocked the crowd at the summit, some of whom reacted with boos and shouts of condemnation.

The Arizona senator gets a lot of grief from people on the right, including around here, but even the conservatives who loathe and despise the man (I’m not one of them, by the way) almost never question McCain’s service. I should note that decent people in general don’t speak that way about McCain either. But Trump simply doesn’t know where the lines are on the right because he’s not a conservative and he can’t help himself.

I doubt this one comment will derail his whole campaign, but I’m sure it’s just the beginning.

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