I’ve seen multiple versions of this story thus far, some more dire than others. The brouhaha apparently started when somebody noticed a tweet in The Donald’s timeline making reference to Jeb Bush’s wife. The various descriptions seemed to shift, though none of them were what you would consider “good” by any stretch of the imagination. The first version I noticed said “Donald Trump deletes offensive tweet about Jeb Bush’s wife.”
Trump seems to be having a tough time containing himself, tweeting Monday that Jeb Bush likes “Mexican illegals because of his wife.” Bush’s wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.
Trump seemingly tried to correct his political incorrectness, eventually deleting the offending tweet, but it was too little, too late.
Well, that certainly sounds bad. But another version hit my inbox not long after and the details had begun to change a bit. “Donald Trump appears to have deleted an unfortunate retweet about Jeb Bush’s wife“.
Despite the outspoken entrepreneur’s reputation for talking without a filter, a tweet Trump appeared to have retweeted Saturday — and then deleted — may suggest even he knows when something has gone too far.
Looking at the actual retweet (not tweet) it certainly looks like something that would fire up the interest of bored politicos.
Since I follow The Donald I can tell you that he frequently retweets stuff that other people tweet at or about him which then shows up in his mentions column. (Or, we should specify, whoever it is that runs his Twitter account. I always had the impression he did it himself but he could just as easily have handed that duty off to an assistant.) This was something about Bush that he was tagged in and he (or his worker) saw it and hit the retweet button. The account which the offending tweet came from (@RobHeibron) no longer seems to exist, so there’s not much to learn there. Even though it’s obviously questionable in nature – at least on first glance – it doesn’t really seem possible to say what it means without having access to the original author. But the first implications about the tweet which were making the rounds, specifically at least implying that Trump had called Mrs. Bush an illegal immigrant, are too much of a stretch. Did the author mean to say that being married to a Mexican woman would make Bush more sympathetic to the cause of illegal immigrants? Or perhaps it meant that she was influencing his policy decisions. I have no idea. But it’s something much less than originally advertised.
None of this is intended to suggest that this was a good idea. Ben Carson has lamented that the backlash against Trump’s Mexico comments is a case of the PC Police out of control, and to a certain extent that may be true. But Trump could be out there staking out ground as the most fierce, pipe wrench swinging immigration hard liner in the pack (which wouldn’t be that heavy of a lift given the somewhat milquetoast answers from a few of the other candidates) and still not need to toss out the sort of self-immolating IEDs which he dropped into his announcement speech. Message discipline really isn’t part of Trump’s portfolio at the moment.
The bottom line is that this was still a foolish thing to do. If Trump is running his own Twitter account he should just cancel it. If he has a flunky handling it he should fire them and get somebody better. But we also don’t need to blow this particular event into something bigger and worse than it actually was. If you want ammunition to use against The Donald, I’m sure you won’t need to wait long for him to deliver more.