This is a man who is so supremely confident that nothing he says or does will damage his standing in the Republican primary contest that he appears to be actively testing that proposition, just for kicks. There have been plenty of wrongly-called "he's finished" moments along the way already: Demeaning John McCain's service by snarking that he prefers soldiers who don't get captured. Giving out a sitting Senator's cell phone number on live television. Making snide comments about Megyn Kelly's menstrual cycle (which he later denied) and calling her a "bimbo." Ridiculing Carly Fiorina's physical appearance, sneering that voters wouldn't elect "that face." And then there's the Obama and Cruz birtherism, the swastika retweet, the remarks about Mexican immigrants, and the red hot take that American wages are just too high. The list goes on and on, yet he's remained tied or alone in first place for months. Last night witnessed a new test of voters' tolerance for unhinged boorishness. Trump unleashed a cyclone of new invective, starting with this psychological analysis of his closest rival in the GOP race, Dr. Ben Carson:
Just in case anyone may have been tempted to cut him some slack for perhaps inadvertently picking a grotesque comparison off the top of his head, Trump repeated the child molester line at a rally in Iowa. Remember, Trump started with the "pathological" stuff prior to this week's debate, when he joined the since-discredited liberal media pile-on against Carson over supposedly fabricated biographical details. He briefly retreated, promising not to repeat the attack face-to-face on stage. And he didn't. Now, with the next debate more than a month way, Trump's back at it. His new spin on this line seems to be that the self-described pathological anger of Carson's youth is evidence that the renowned surgeon is too emotionally unstable to be president. This criticism is likely to fail for two reasons: First, even the most hardened of Carson detractors cannot possibly buy the idea that the guy's a maniacally angry, dangerous human being. He's as subdued and mild-mannered as they come. Second, the person delivering this knock on presidential temperament is...Donald Trump. The Donald wasn't through just yet, moving on to a discussion of foreign policy that featured this gem of offensively delusional self-regard:
Donald Trump in Iowa: "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me."— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) November 13, 2015
Would those be the same generals from whom Trump gets his geopolitical via television news shows? And we are still talking about this Donald Trump, are we not? Then again, nobody is "bigger or better at the military" than Trump is. Just ask him. (Exceptions apply). Finally, egged on by the crowd, the Republican frontrunner turned his attention to the surging Marco Rubio, uncorking a characteristically cogent and reasoned salvo against the Florida Senator:
Trump debates aloud if he should share more complaints about his rivals. Crowd cheers him on. First up: Marco Rubio, "weak like a baby."— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) November 13, 2015
And then there's this:
Donald Trump said on Thursday that Marco Rubio favors "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants because the Florida senator and his parents are Hispanic. "That's why he wants amnesty," Trump told Erin Burnett during an interview on "Erin Burnett OutFront."
Marco Rubio is a natural born citizen of the United States. He was born in Florida, to legal immigrant parents. And "amnesty" isn't an issue that generally pertains to Cuban-Americans. Trump is playing racial politics, pure and simple. I'll leave you with Carly Fiorina going nuclear on Trump, in Carson's defense:
UPDATE - Yes, Donald, how stupid are the people of Iowa?
Trump on Carson's changing stories: "How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of this country to believe this crap?"— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) November 13, 2015
Perhaps "a young intern" will apologize for that comment, too. Here's the full nine-minute rant about Carson, replete with a pantomimed stabbing and sneering skepticism of Carson's religious conversion story:
UPDATE II - Carson's high-road response: "Pray for him."