May Trump’s reign as president last a thousand years.
No, seriously, I think he’s just blowing smoke, although I’ll repeat what I said yesterday. Few things could endear Trump to a wider swath of the Republican base more quickly than a determined effort to oust the old amnesty shill from the Senate once and for all. He’s selling himself as the guy who terrifies the GOP establishment. Here’s his chance to prove it. Recruit and bankroll a credible Senate challenger for the party’s 2008 nominee, a centrist dinosaur who’s creeping up on 30 years in the Senate and who wants six more despite approaching his 80th birthday.
Trump and [Arizona treasurer Jeff] DeWit met privately in Phoenix July 11 aboard Trump’s Boeing 757. During the conversation, which was observed by The Washington Post, Trump and DeWit discussed McCain and what it would take it make the race competitive.
“You really should think about doing it,” Trump told DeWit, who nodded as he sat inches from Trump in the cream-colored cabin…
But DeWit told Trump that his friend, state Sen. Kelli Ward, is already running against McCain, making his own entry unlikely unless circumstances changed. Trump said he understood DeWit’s position but told him it’d be smart to leave his options open and think seriously about a bid…
In an e-mail Friday, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump “has not spoken to any other” Arizona Republicans about possibly running against the 78-year-old senator.
That sounds like small talk made by a guy who doesn’t know the Arizona scene and was eager to flatter a local pol who’d come out to meet him, not a serious attempt to recruit DeWit. The fact that WaPo watched it happen makes it even more dubious. Trump probably sensed, correctly, that it’d make for good buzz among grassroots righties for a reporter to conveniently overhear him encouraging a primary challenge to McCain. Maybe McCain got wind of it too before today’s WaPo story and that’s why he made a point of insulting Trump and “the crazies” back home in an interview with the New Yorker. So here’s a follow-up idea for Trump: Cut a check to Ward’s Super PAC (does she have one yet?) for $1 million and make a statement to the effect that the process of rebuilding America begins with clearing out the dead wood in Congress. Or, if Ward’s too much of a longshot, call a presser and announce that you’re prepared to commit, say, $10 million to a more serious challenger for McCain if anyone’s willing to step forward. Even if no one does, it’s dynamite grassroots PR for Trump.
Here’s something to sweeten the pot. From McCain’s former speechwriter and right-hand man, Mark Salter:
Donald Trump isn’t just an embarrassment to the Republican Party, or to whatever percentage of unserious self-identified Republicans say they would vote for him. He’s an embarrassment to the country. He possesses all the traits snobbish foreigners deride Americans for. He’s bumptious, narcissistic, obtuse and full of it. You’d think he was a Brit actor playing an American on the BBC. GOP presidential candidates who can’t find the nerve to criticize the guy ought to grow a pair. You’ll have done America a good turn, and you’ll feel better about yourself.
Below you’ll find Trump dumping on McCain this a.m. on “Morning Joe.” Skip to 6:15 for the key bit, which includes him laughing at the fact that McCain finished near the bottom of his class at Annapolis. Right, and … then he went on to become a war hero by enduring the Hanoi Hilton while Trump was back in New York. Not an effective line of attack. Especially since Trump called McCain a “very, very bright guy” and a “quality human being” during his run for president in 2008. Exit question: Isn’t there an obvious, sensational choice to primary McCain in Arizona who’d match up perfectly with Trump thematically? Come on. It’d be the primary of the century.