Ben Carson is trying to be helpful here. He really does have the best of intentions. However, his suggestion that the Khan family owes Trump an apology is not going to do the Trump campaign any favors at this point. Here’s the exchange with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (video below):
Wolf Blitzer: Should Donald Trump apologize to those parents?
Ben Carson: I think…should clearly move on. I don’t think it would be harmful if, you know, they apologized to him and he apologized to them but I don’t see that happening.
Blitzer: Why should they apologize to him?
Carson: Well for one thing, you know, if you accuse someone of something that’s not true it usually is a reasonable thing to acknowledge that.
Blitzer: So what you would like to see is an apology from those parents, is that what you’re saying?
Carson: I would say rather than make this a one-sided issue why don’t we all just say…back off a little bit. We have such important issue to deal with and let’s just call a truce. And the best way to call a truce is simply to say I’m over that, you’ve over that. I’m sorry I said this if it offended you…
The list of Republicans who have directly said or strongly implied that Trump is out of line is getting pretty long at this point. You have some like Jeb Bush, John McCain and Lindsey Graham who were never on the Trump train, but then you have people who have been at least somewhat supportive of Trump like Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus. Finally, you have the real insiders like Newt Gingrich and even Mike Pence who are now delivering pretty much the same message to Trump about how to handle the Khan-troversy.
I don’t think Ben Carson feels any differently than most of these other Republicans. He knows Trump should apologize and he said so. But Carson can’t say just that because it would be seen as undercutting Trump in public. That leaves him grasping for some sort of middle-ground, such as the suggestion that both sides should apologize and call a truce.
But as Carson said, it’s not going to happen. Trump said in an interview with ABC7 that he regrets nothing. From the Hill:
“I don’t regret anything,” Trump said in an interview with ABC7.
“I said nice things about the son and I feel that very strongly but of course I was hit very hard from the stage and you know it’s just one of those things, but no I don’t regret anything.”
That’s the uncompromising attitude that won Trump support during the primaries, but as Newt Gingrich pointed out today it’s not working in the general election. Gingrich’s message, which clearly stems in part from the Khan family issue, boils down to a simple warning to Trump: Check yourself before you wreck yourself. From Politico:
The election at this point is similar to the TV show “The Apprentice,” Gingrich mused, “except he’s the apprentice, he’s not the boss.
“He doesn’t get to say ‘you’re fired.’ The American people get to say, ‘you’re fired.’ So he’s really got to take a deep breath,” Gingrich continued. “I think he has the potential to win the election. I think he has the potential to be a historic president, but to do that, he has got to grow into the size of the job and not get stuck where he has been, which frankly, over the last week, I think has been very disheartening to most of his supporters.”
Ben Carson was trying to help but, like Priebus, Gingrich and even Pence, he’s been put in a very awkward position. Here’s the video: