Instead, he went into a bizarre digression in which he alternately wondered whether his son Barron might grow up to become a hacker and defended Vladimir Putin from the accusation Russia had tapped into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails (which the FBI says almost certainly happened). That has to count as the biggest choke of his political life.
By the time the last 15 minutes rolled around, he was reduced to yammering about Rosie O’Donnell being mean to him and Hillary running mean commercials about him and praising himself because there are some really terrible things he could have said about Hillary but hasn’t. By this point, even his smart closing zinger — “she has experience but it’s bad experience” — was buried inside a weird word salad that reduced its effectiveness to almost nil.
His supporters should be furious with him, and so should the public in general. By performing this incompetently, by refusing to prepare properly for this exchange, by not learning enough to put meat on the bones of his populist case against Clinton, he displayed nothing but contempt for the people who have brought him this far — and for the American people who are going to make this momentous decision on Nov. 8.