You had to know it was going to be a long night when the latest edition of a seemingly endless gauntlet of anti-Trump donnybrooks started out with dick jokes. With hordes of protesters howling in the streets and with the entire establishment gripped by a bloodlust akin to jungle beasts, the attacks on the Republican front-runner came early and relentlessly in front of a hand-picked audience – reportedly by Romney’s niece – of party loyalists and hacks. Feeding off of the rallying cry from putative GOP head Mitt Romney who launched a hectoring and deceptive diatribe earlier in the day, the Cuban stiletto brothers and the Fox News moderators led by the vengeful Megyn Kelly worked to pummel the Donald from beginning to end. It was the ugliest ambush yet and with the establishment now on a mission to join the army of Mitt in denying Trump the nomination they picked him clean like a school of piranha feasting on a wayward panther. It was more a trial and inquisition than it was a debate.
The Washington Post is picking at Trump’s bones this morning and true to form they are led by the neocon queen of Trump haters Jennifer Rubin who oozes satisfaction in her piece “The GOP duel in Detroit dings the Donald”:
Four Republican presidential candidates faced off tonight in the wake of Mitt Romney’s evisceration of Donald Trump in a speech earlier in the day. Trump’s opponents on the stage picked up where Romney left off.
Trump proved early on to be the vulgarian Romney accused him of being. Holding up his hands, he insisted they were large and that he “guarantees” there is no problem with his, er, manhood. Score one for Romney.
Early on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) launched assaults on Trump’s record, bizarre ideas and character. He lambasted Trump for personal insults, for not knowing what the nuclear triad is and for failing to embody the party’s conservative values. He jabbed at him for making his clothing line overseas and for swindling the unwary. Most effectively, Rubio pointed out that Trump resorted to personal insults because he has no substantive answers. Trump complied by keeping up the insults, calling the Florida senator “Little Marco” over and over again. Once again he made Romney’s point that Trump is a childish bully.
Most successfully, Rubio launched an attack on Trump University, saying Trump was willing to say anything to get people’s money. He got a strong assist from Megyn Kelly who confirmed Trump University’s most recent grade from the Better Business Bureau was a D-, not an A as Trump claimed. She batted away his bogus excuses, reminding the audience Trump is accused of fleecing students. With Trump insisting it was “a small civil case” and vowing that we will find out in “years” who is right, he made Rubio’s point: Trump truly is someone with disdain for the little guy.
Trump was on defense much of the evening. Moderator Chris Wallace dinged him repeatedly, telling him his budget numbers “don’t add up.” Wallace proceeded to put the figures up on the screen, proving that Trump was making up numbers. He declared he was “changing” on legal immigration and now wants to let in more skilled workers. Both Rubio and Cruz hit him repeatedly both on refusing to hire locally and withholding the Times audio tape. Trump bizarrely insisted the military would follow illegal orders to carry out torture and going after terrorists’ families. And when confronted with clips of his flip-flops, Trump rambled, struggling to explain why he changed his stance repeatedly. (He dubbed this “flexibility.”) He also acknowledged a flip-flop on the assault weapons ban. Immediately after denying he had complimented Putin, the moderators played a Kasich ad mocking him for doing just that. As the evening went on, he looked sweaty and panicked.
Rubin’s gloating confirms that the whole thing was an ambush, the talking points spewed by Rubio and Cruz were well rehearsed and choreographed to mesh with the line of inquiry by Team Fox’s celebrity moderators – they even brought their collection of video clips carefully culled from years of Trump’s media appearances. Trump tried to return fire but he was badly outnumbered, outgunned and unable to outmaneuver the trap. The only real way that he could have won would have been staying away entirely which would be a wise thing for him to do going forward – especially when the in the bag for Rubio Fox News is hosting the fraudulent debate. The attacks are only going to grow more intense as the establishment gets more desperate and it’s a long way to the brokered convention.