Republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal took direct aim at Donald Trump on Thursday, bashing the GOP frontrunner as “an unserious carnival act” who is distracting voters from real conservative candidates like himself.
“Donald Trump is a narcissist and an egomaniac. That may sound like a serious charge to make, but it is also something that everyone knows to be true,” the Louisiana governor said in an address at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “He may be an entertaining narcissist, but he is one nonetheless.”
The purposefully provocative speech was designed to bring some much-needed media attention to Jindal’s flagging presidential campaign, particularly if and when Trump responds, something Jindal’s campaign said they expected in a call with reporters the day before.
“I want to say what everyone is thinking about Donald Trump but is afraid to say out loud,” Jindal said. “Donald Trump is shallow. He has no understanding of policy. He’s full of bluster, but has no substance. He lacks the intellectual curiosity to even learn.”
Later Thursday, Jindal’s campaign debuted a video mash-up mocking Trump’s oft repeated “I love them, they love me” refrains. The video comes on the heels of a video released Wednesday, suggesting actor Charlie Sheen as a potential running mate for Trump because of the pair’s love of “winning.”
Although Jindal has been running for president since May, the Republican governor has barely budged in national polls. He’s campaigning heavily in Iowa, but in the two most recent polls of likely Republican voters there, he still registers only in the single digits. In the NBC News/Marist poll released this week, he tied with Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio at 4%. In a recent Monmouth University poll, Jindal scored just 1%, but campaign manager Timmy Teepell said they believe that “the race is wide open, nobody has any real votes.”
“Probably what a lot of ya’ll are thinking is that, yes a lot of other people have tried [to attack Trump],” Teepell told reporters on the Wednesday call. He and aide Curt Anderson said that Jindal’s attacks would be different because they would target him personally, instead of on specific policies, and because he doesn’t intend to back down after initial sparring as other candidates have.