This is the best spin available to Team Trump on its scrap with Mr. and Mrs. Khan, which Trump himself stupidly continues to tweet about even though the campaign is desperate to put it behind them. (As one GOP strategist said, “this is a guy who can’t let slights, major or minor, go by.”) Your outrage is misplaced, Lewandowski suggests. The outrage should be that Captain Khan was put in harm’s way in the first place as part of an ill-advised war that Donald Trump opposed. That’s, er, not true but Trump has worked hard to create that perception and it’s smart of Lewandowski to try to position Trump as being essentially on the Khans’ side. In fact, he could have gone further. One of this year’s nominees did, famously, support the Iraq war in 2002 and cast an important vote to authorize it. Trump should have hammered that point the first time he was asked about Khizr Khan’s speech and stuck with it all weekend. Instead his instinct was to wonder aloud why Mrs. Khan didn’t speak at the convention. Well, she’s speaking now.
Clinton and her party spent the past week characterizing Trump as an indecent man who’s unfit to command the military. Letting yourself get dragged into an increasingly nasty war of words with a Gold Star family while that message is circulating is political malpractice. Among the Republicans who issued statements this weekend criticizing Trump are Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and, emphatically, John McCain. (All three are still endorsing him for president, of course.) Also not quite comfortable with Trump’s position, apparently, is … Mike Pence, who, for the second time in a week, has had a statement issued under his name by Team Trump designed to do damage control for something that Trump’s said.
“Donald Trump and I believe that Captain Humayun Khan is an American hero and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.
Captain Khan gave his life to defend our country in the global war on terror. Due to the disastrous decisions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a once stable Middle East has now been overrun by ISIS. This must not stand.
By suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS at its source and projecting strength on the global stage, we will reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family.
Donald Trump will support our military and their families and we will defeat the enemies of our freedom.”
I wonder if Pence is requesting that these statements be put out or if this is a device concocted by Paul Manafort and the inner circle to clean up messes. Trump doesn’t apologize as a rule so they’d prefer not to put out a damage-control statement under his name. Pence is another story. Be glad he’s on the ticket now: If we were still in the pre-VP stage, these clean-up press releases would probably be attributed to “John Miller.”
Trump should consider himself lucky that this happened now and not a month ago, with the “Dump Trump” contingent among delegates trying to get traction before the convention. Ryan, McConnell, and McCain remain onboard the Trump train and will continue to remain onboard because he’s now the only game in town. If they cut him loose at this point, it could destroy his chance at the presidency and their own chance of holding onto Congress as angry Trump fans decide to punish them by not voting Republican down-ballot. Four weeks ago, though, there was still time to replace Trump with a more politic nominee. That would have done damage too, but in that case you’d have three months for people to get over their anger and back his replacement. Then again, the scrap with Judge Curiel happened before the convention and definitely hurt Trump in the polls, yet they all stood by him in Cleveland anyway. Ah well. It’s nice to see their loyalty rewarded so richly.
Make sure to watch to the end here as things get heated between Lewandowski and lefty Christine Quinn. At one point Quinn touches him on the arm and Lewandowski asks her not to do that. Since when is Corey against grabbing people on the arm? Exit question: Didn’t Trump say a few months ago that he’s prepared if need be to put 30,000 U.S. troops on the ground to fight ISIS? He and Lewandowski should think twice before crowing that any given American soldier would be alive thanks to President Trump’s foreign policy.