In his victory speech last night, Donald Trump proclaimed himself the “presumptive nominee.” This morning, he’s acting like it, turning his rhetorical guns on the Democratic presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton. Calling her a “flawed candidate,” Trump told Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos that the only argument she has is, “I’m a woman, I’m a woman,” and that she’d be polling at 5% without it:
Fresh off his resounding wins last night, GOP front-runner Donald Trump appears to be moving past the “leftover” Republican candidates and is looking ahead to a possible general election matchup with Hillary Clinton.
“She is a flawed candidate. She is a candidate that, frankly, is I think…she’s not going to do very well in the election and I look forward to showing that,” Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “GMA.” …
The New York businessman also defended his comment that Clinton is playing the “woman card” to get elected as president.
“It’s not sexist. It’s true. Just very, very true statement. If she were a man she’d get 5 percent. Women don’t like Hillary and I did well with the women,” he said on “GMA.” “She gets up and all she’s saying is, ‘I’m a woman, I’m a woman’ and she didn’t play that card too much with Obama, probably made a mistake not doing it but she’s playing it against us.”
Has Trump moved beyond the primary — or is he focusing on Hillary to wrap up the nomination in Indiana and California? This seems more like a clever demonstration by Trump of what he can deliver, if Republican delegates push him over the top in Cleveland. He’s saying publicly what many Republican voters want to hear someone say about Hillary and her reliance on gender as a qualification for the presidency. It’s the kind of personal fight that Mitt Romney and John McCain refused to use in the last two presidential cycles, and which some Republicans blame for those losses. If only Romney had fought, they argue, Obama wouldn’t have stood a chance.
A lack of personal attacks wasn’t the cause of either failure, and it might end up making matters worse in a general election in swing states where voters are sick of that kind of political rhetoric already. But it will play very well among primary voters, and continue to offer a contrast between Trump and his challengers, who are both trying to offer a more traditional message. Even if Trump comes in a bit short in Cleveland, that kind of brash and personal attack on Hillary might sway enough unbound delegates who might otherwise be turned off if Trump’s still offering personal attacks on other Republicans. Don’t be surprised if Trump’s new nicknames for Cruz and Kasich are “Who?” from this point forward.