Last Saturday, Donald Trump attacked John McCain for being a prisoner of war, and in the process, backhanded every American POW. Now, the right-wing is mounting a revisionist campaign to defend Donald Trump, proving that the repeatedly bankrupt businessman is their current savior du jour.
Trump’s Idea Of A War Hero
Trump opened his campaign by accusing Mexican immigrants of being rapists. His attacks on McCain Saturday were well within the purview of his thus-far juvenile behavior. As Hamilton Nolan at Gawker noted, Trump has a wide appeal with right-wingers because:
[H]e thinks and speaks about political issues with the same level of contemplation and refinement as most of the voting public, and that the entire national press corps follows him around like devoted puppies, because he provides such good copy. He therefore attains high visibility and grabs the interest of people who are mostly disinterested in all this shit, a cycle that feeds on itself.
Paul Krugman summed it up a bit more bluntly when he called Trump a narcissistic, “belligerent racist.”
Against this history, his attacks on McCain make sense. On Saturday, Trump slammed McCain for having gotten captured while serving during war time:
‘I don’t like losers,’ Trump, a Republican presidential contender for 2016, said at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit during a question-and-answer session. . . .
‘He’s not a war hero,’ Trump said mockingly. ‘He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.’
And with that line, Trump single-handedly slammed every American POW. And while he would later soften his views, it wasn’t by much, saying, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. OK, I believe — perhaps he’s a war hero.”
And as of Sunday, he was still unrepentant, saying:
I’m not a fan of John McCain. He’s done a horrible job for the vets . . . I said it at the news conference. I said it on the stage. The next sentence was, ‘He is a war hero.’ I said that, but they never want to play it.
Whether or not McCain’s done a good job for the vets is a moot point — he actually hasn’t, but that’s not the topic of the discussion. The issue is that Donald Trump slammed all of America’s POWs with that one remark, and a clumsy backtrack prefixed by “perhaps” doesn’t change it.
Which is why on Monday, the right wing began mounting a counter-offensive to defend Trump from himself.
The Right-Wing Media To The Rescue
Don’t ever let anyone tell you Fox News doesn’t love Donald Trump; he’s their man.
On Monday, the network launched into a defense of Donald Trump, as only Fox News can.
During an episode of Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy defended Trump with the bizarre claim that Trump was somehow attacking McCain’s senate record rather than McCain’s service record. “If you listen to his comments in total,” Doocy said, “He’s not critical of John McCain the war hero, he’s critical of his senate record.”
Sean Hannity, meanwhile, said that while Trump should apologize, McCain was the one who started it. “Alright,” Hannity began, “This all got started by McCain, who called Trump’s supporters ‘crazies.'” He then went on to call McCain a RINO, and slam the media for asking the various Republican candidates if they would condemn Trump for his remarks.
Hannity wasn’t the only Fox News host to blame McCain; host Harris Faulkner also slammed McCain, saying that McCain “is not admitting that he kind of started the whole thing.”
Also jumping into the fray is Rush Limbaugh, who, desperate for listeners following his fall from grace, claimed that the media is lying. “It’s a fact that Trump did not say what he’s been accused of saying,” Limbaugh said, adding that those attacking Trump are attacking him because he was politically incorrect and are part of the “Washington establishment.”
Time will tell if this hurts Trump in the polls, but since he has the social subtlety of a baseball bat, the empathy of a cinder block and the political acumen of a pot roast, I wouldn’t be surprised if he maintained his lead.
Feature image via Wikimedia Commons