“I’ve been treated very unfairly” by the RNC, Donald Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, in a townhall forum that Trump threatened to boycott because he complained that CNN treated him unfairly. What did CNN do to treat Trump unfairly? They had commentators on panels that criticized him. What did the RNC do to treat Trump unfairly, and thus negate his pledge to support the party’s nominee whoever it turned out to be? Er … Mitt Romney criticized him.
Let’s face it — The Pledge has been a joke for some time. It served a purpose until the primaries started, which was to keep Trump from bailing out of the GOP process and launching a third-party bid. Over the last couple of months, though, it’s been clear that Trump is too self-absorbed to rally troops on behalf of someone else, and too thin-skinned to accept criticism, let alone defeat. No one who has paid any attention to Trump’s antics over the past year could possibly have thought that Trump would campaign for someone else, or even have anything nice to say about someone who beat him to the nomination.
If Trump thought Cooper would be sympathetic to this kind of argument, he got a surprise tonight. Cooper dressed him down for acting like a child when it came to the War Of The Wives:
— CNN (@CNN) March 30, 2016
Cooper asked Trump about his ongoing feud with rival Ted Cruz, which started after an anti-Trump super PAC circulated a racy image of Trump’s wife, Melania. Trump later retweeted an image of Melania next to Cruz’s wife, Heidi, in what Cooper called an “unflattering” pose. Trump said he thought the photo of Heidi was “nice,” and when pressed by Cooper, said, “I didn’t start it.”
Cooper responded by telling the Republican frontrunner “with all due respect, that’s the argument of a 5-year-old,” adding that “every parent knows that.” “That’s the problem,” Trump retorted. “Exactly that thinking is the problem this country has. I didn’t start this, he started this.”
If Trump believes that the RNC staged Mitt Romney’s criticism to make him look bad, does anyone think for a moment that Trump would take a loss at the convention as just the breaks of a well-fought contest? Puh-leeeeeeze. Trump either spikes the ball, or he takes it and goes home. There is no room in his world for another quarterback, and anything but cheerleading is all the evidence Trump needs to claim victimhood.
Update: The response from Trump supporters has mainly been, “Cruz and Kasich reneged on the pledge first tonight!” According to CNN’s transcripts, Kasich came on after Trump, not before. As for Cruz, he never explicitly declared that he would renege on the pledge:
COOPER: Do you still stand by the pledge to support whoever the nominee, even if it’s Donald Trump?
CRUZ: Well, Anderson, as you mentioned, what I said is true. I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my family. I think that is going beyond the line. I think our wives, I think our kids should be off limits. They don’t belong in the attacks. (APPLAUSE) And, listen, I’m not an easy person to tick off, but when you go after my wife, when you go after my daughters, that does it. And I think — I want this race to stay focused on policy and issues and solutions to the real problems facing America. That’s where I’m going to stay focused. But if other candidates don’t, I think that’s beyond the pale.
COOPER: So I just have to follow-up, if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, would you support him?
CRUZ: Let me tell you my solution to that. (LAUGHTER) Donald is not going to be the GOP nominee. We’re going to beat him.
COOPER: I would be remiss if I didn’t follow-up. That’s my greatest failing. That was the question earlier for you. (LAUGHTER) My greatest failing is sometimes I don’t follow up, so not to give into that, I mean, I got to ask, I will assume by you saying you would not support him, that the answer is you would not support him if he is the nominee?
CRUZ: I gave you my answer. Listen, I think nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute train wreck. I think it would hand the general election to Hillary Clinton. Poll after poll after poll shows Donald Trump losing 10, 11, 12 points or more. I don’t want to see the White House given over to Hillary Clinton. I don’t want to see us lose the Senate and House, lose the Supreme Court for a generation, lose the Bill of Rights. I think nominating Donald Trump is a disaster, and so the answer to that is not to scream and yell and cry and attack him, the answer to that is to beat him at the ballot box. That’s what we’re working every day to do. It’s what we’re campaigning every day here in Wisconsin to do.