You know that long-awaited, elusive "pivot" to a more serious and presidential Donald Trump for which the commentariat keeps yearning? It's not coming. The morning after formally accepting the Republican Party's presidential nomination, Trump and his running mate appeared together at a "thank you" event for convention volunteers. The blowhard mogul proceeded to uncork a rambling, stream-of-consciousness soliloquy that careened from one topic to another, before eventually landing on his favorite subject: The Republican Primary process. From there, it was a short hop to Ted Cruz, whose non-endorsement speech on Wednesday night drew loud boos. Trump initially had downplayed the incident as no big deal, and even managed to avoid firing back at his former(?) rival during his acceptance speech. But Donald Trump is incapable of letting anything go, even when it's in his best interests to do so. He told CBS News earlier that the crowd turning on Cruz was "beautiful," then ramped up his fury at the post-convention gathering, declaring -- apparently on-the-fly -- that if Cruz were to endorse him before November, he'd reject it. ("You can't fire me, I quit!" Allahpundit snarks). He also mused about forming a Super PAC to go after the Texas Senator in his home state, where Cruz crushed Trump in March. Keep in mind that this is the morning after Trump called for an end to "petty politics:"
By the way, in spite of Trump's implication, the "controversial" passages of Cruz's speech were all included in the pre-submitted text. Next came a surreal re-litigation of the Trump's attacks on Cruz's family, including a false account of his insults against Heidi Cruz, as well as a repetition of the utterly debunked slander that Cruz's father may have had a hand in the JFK assassination. To justify that one, Trump sang the praises of the National Enquirer's credibility, citing their take-down of John Edwards. But that publication also "reported" that the CIA hired a prostitute to assassinate Justice Scalia, who Trump name-checked in last night's address. The JFK implication one of the more reckless and odious things Trump has done all year, and he simply cannot bring himself to drop it, out of solipsism and spitefulness. Desirable qualities in a president, to be sure. Incidentally, I'd love to know what was going through Mike Pence's mind as Trump wandered wildly off-script to trash the man he endorsed ahead of the Indiana primary. You signed up for this, governor:
For good measure, Trump also attacked popular Ohio Governor John Kasich -- who just happens to command a potent political operation in the most important swing state in the country, without which Trump cannot win the presidency. Because unity. Today's churlish performance was a fitting coda to a dysfunctional convention, and a perfect encapsulation of Trump's resentment-fueled campaign. Democrats will happily let him rip. Republican officials will tear their hair out, agog that he'd actively step on his own post-convention moment with such a stupid, impulsive, narrative-shifting act of self-sabotage. And his hardcore followers will absolutely eat it up. He fights! I'll leave you with this:
Cruz must be feeling pretty good about his public non-endorsement of this petulant crazy person.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 22, 2016