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How Marco Mishandled Trump

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

*This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.

Many folks thought Marco Rubio was the most talented politician since Ronald Reagan. He shares with the Gipper that sunny outlook that distinguishes Reagan conservatism from the bitter and ugly populism of a Trump.


It should be clear in this dreary season, however, that Marco badly mishandled Trump. When he taunted Trump about the size of his hands, he descended into the sewer. It may have been necessary for Marco to mix it up with the Donald, but you cannot go into the sewer with him. Professional mud slingers always have a home field advantage there.

The origins of this shameful story show what Marco might have done differently. In 1988, liberal journalist Graydon Carter called Trump “a short-fingered vulgarian” in a Spy magazine profile. Nothing too surprising in that. Liberals don’t like billionaires—unless they’re of the George Soros or Bill Gates stripe.

What happened next is where this story should have led.

Graydon Carter reports here that Trump sent him photographs for the next twenty-five years. In his Vanity Fair follow-up article, Carter informs us that Trump would circle his hands with a gold sharpie as he fixated on proving his hands were normal size.

Was he trying out for the role of “Goldfinger” in a James Bond sequel? Who knows? But such conduct is what we should have focused on.

What normal man does such a thing? Twenty-five years of monomaniacal correspondence with a hostile reporter?

Ordinary Americans don’t do things like that. Well, some Americans might do something like that, we must admit. Howard Hughes was surely an American, and an “eccentric” billionaire.


Notice, if you are a billionaire, you get called eccentric. If, you are Howard Hughes, you hold up in a hotel. You might even buy it to avoid being evicted. You could let your hair grow down to your butt, and have your fingernails clipped only twice a year.

In doing this, you are not diagnosed as insane. You’re simply an eccentric. Oh, and don’t forget the hundreds of jars of his own liquid waste that Hughes stored.

Marco should have focused not on body parts but on the readily seen parts of Trump’s bizarre behavior. And he should have asked Americans: Do we want put into Trump’s hands the keys to our U.S. nuclear arsenal?

Mr. Trump has never been a Republican or a conservative.  He claims he cares about the plight of the typical straphanger on the New York subway, those working stiffs. If that were true, Trump might have run for Mayor, for Governor, or even for U.S. Senator from his home state.

He could have joined the ranks of other wealthy New Yorkers—like Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt—who made the workingman’s cause the foundation of their rise in politics.

Trump has never cared. He views most Americans as “losers” and threatens with lawsuits anyone who gets in his way. He backs eminent domain seizures of their homes if he wants to expand one of his casinos or strip clubs.


Here’s a guy who has never shoveled his own walk or flown in coach. And he tells us he loves those “less educated voters.” Give us a break!

Mitt Romney lost out 81-19 on the pollsters’ question: Does he care about people like me? No one can honestly say Trump cares about people who worry about how to pay the mortgage or put kids through college.

The enlisted men and women in our all-volunteer military are hard pressed these days. If only Marco had gone after Trump’s questionable fitness to command any of these loyal troops.

He is a man who dodged the draft in his youth by claiming he had “heel spurs.” Can Trump make the case he is worthy  to order this young Marine into harm’s way.

He has said he would go after family members of ISIS. Trump has threatened recently to order our armed forces to commit war crimes—more My Lai massacres.

Such an order by Trump would violate our Constitution, our laws, our Uniform Code of Military Justice, our treaties, and three hundred years of America’s highest military tradition. No one can obey it.  Lt. William Calley went to prison for his crimes at My Lai. He says he regrets every day of his life that he obeyed those orders.

The tragedy of Marco’s failed campaign is that he did not focus on the existential danger of putting nuclear weapons in the hands of a loose cannon like Trump.


President John F. Kennedy gave us this eloquent warning over half a century ago.

Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness.

What Kennedy then called the slenderest of threads now is fraying daily. This is because of President Obama’s fatally flawed nuclear deal with Iran. Considering this, we must think hard about letting Mr. Trump run around with a large pair of scissors in his hands.

That nuclear sword of Damocles should have been the focus of our attention all winter. It must be our focus even more urgently now.

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