Never will you see a more obvious case of baiting someone politically than Team Clinton asking FLOTUS to lead the charge today against Trump. This is the second time in less than three months that they’ve tapped her to be an attack dog against the Republican nominee in a big spot, in fact, an unusual role for a First Lady. (Obama also hit Trump, although never by name if I recall correctly, in her convention speech.) On the one hand, she’s hugely popular with everyone except Republicans and her words carry more moral weight than the average pol’s because the public knows her primarily as a wife and mother. On the other hand, Democrats know that Trump will be itching to blast back at her for laying into him this way, which will backfire egregiously. He’s as unpopular as she is well-liked, he’s a political combatant while she’s a “civilian,” he’s the accused harasser while she’s a mom, he’s the white reactionary who’ll be lambasting the first black First Lady — the liberal attack lines are endless. And Trump knows it. Tellingly, she was one of the few big-name speakers about whom he had nothing derogatory to say on Twitter during the Dem convention. Whether that’s because Paul Manafort explained to him in advance that he should duck a fight with her at all costs or because Trump himself could see the pitfalls in engaging, only they know. But Trump’s not in the same position now as he was in July. Back then he was still competitive nationally and was trying to be more “disciplined” to show swing voters he was presidential timber. Now he has nothing to lose. Maybe he’ll unload. That’s what Clinton’s counting on.
Trump talked about the accusations against him at his own rally this afternoon, calling them “totally and absolutely false,” “fabricated,” “pure fiction,” and “outright lies.” He claims to have “substantial evidence” that they’re false, but for now this will have to do:
Referring to assault allegations from People writer, Trump just said "Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think."
— Allegra Kirkland (@allegrakirkland) October 13, 2016
Alpha males only harass 10’s, bro. That logic should win back some women voters who are angry with him, don’t you think?
Bloomberg has a fun story out this afternoon about how Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort each begged Trump to authorize opposition research on himself, a standard practice undertaken by campaigns so that the candidate will have early warning about what his opponent might be digging up on him. Trump said no, of course. The RNC conducted its own oppo on him but found “nothing substantial” because this party is run by idiots who deserve what they’re getting right now. Speaking of which, though, the Times has responded to Trump’s lawyer’s letter threatening a lawsuit over their story yesterday. Their answer: Get bent.
The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about this non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a “piece of ass.” Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.
That’s an interesting argument. Has Trump’s reputation already fallen so far that, effectively, there’s no way to further injure it? Is he, in other words, “libel-proof”?
Here’s FLOTUS followed by Rush Limbaugh previewing Trump’s retort if he does choose to engage with her. If you’re looking for the next shoe to drop, incidentally, I’d keep an eye on this. Not only is there a pageant connection to the current sexual-harassment attack line, it sets the stage for any race-related attacks Democrats might have in the can.
Update: And right on cue, the White House is now all but daring Trump to throw them into the briar patch by attacking Michelle Obama.