Is Donald Trump a political liability? After all, ever since he officially became a Republican presidential candidate, he’s faced considerable and growing backlash over his theories about Mexicans. Recently, however, he “clarified” his remarks by releasing a statement that in many ways dug himself deeper into a hole. “The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States,” he wrote in part. “They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc."
Nevertheless, Charles Krauthammer, who has been in a tussle with Trump for some weeks now, explained why the business mogul’s comments are beyond offensive, and, ultimately, toxic to the Republican brand:
"Well, he's tapping in, but he's essentially -- he's done it in a way that the word offensive is too weak. It's an insult. An entire immigrant group. He did not make a distinct between legal and illegal immigrants. That's his entire campaign. All our problems are from Mexico, from China, from Saudi Arabia, and Japan. He will make them pay. But that elevates him to a guy actually with ideas. These are eruptions, barstool eruptions. And the pity is this. This is the strongest field of Republican candidates in 35 years. You could pick a dozen of them at random and have the strongest cabinet America's had in our lifetime and instead all of our time is spent discussing this rodeo clown..."
Mincing words is not in Krauthammer’s repertoire when discussing the fabulously wealthy – and high-polling – Donald Trump. And yet, Krauthammer’s not the only one frustrated by Trump’s influence and large microphone (via Politico):
At least one top Republican donor wants the party to keep Donald Trump from the debate stage. “Someone in the party ought to start some sort of petition saying, ‘If Trump’s going to be on the stage, I’m not going to be on there with him,’” Republican donor John Jordan told The Associated Press on Monday, according to a report published Tuesday. “I’m toying with the idea of it.”
“It’s something I feel strongly about as somebody who not only cares about the Republican Party, but also Latinos,” he added.
No doubt others feel the same way. But how likely is a petition to be successful, one that bars Trump from debating on stage, when he’s polling in the top tier and has a dedicated, devoted, and rather large following who wants to see him nominated?
Krauthammer’s right: The controversies Trump is generating are overshadowing a GOP field that is both talented and desperate to win. But finding a way to silence him, when he’s entirely self-funded, is impossible. I suspect very few pundits thought Trump would actually run, and now that he has, the donor and political classes are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to respond. And while this adds (for some) a new layer of excitement to the race, it also adds another dimension of nervousness and unpredictability as well.