Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump described his shocking break with traditional political decorum on Monday — when he repeated a supporter’s crude insult of Sen. Ted Cruz — as a “great moment” during an appearance on “Morning Joe” Tuesday.
At a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday night, he stopped during his extemporaneous remarks criticizing Cruz’s position on waterboarding to acknowledge a woman in the audience who slammed Cruz, allegedly calling him a ”p—y.” Trump repeated her remark, though he admitted in a seemingly disingenuous tone that the comment was a “terrible thing.” After some hooting from the crowd, Trump feigned outrage and said: “That’s terrible! Terrible.”
Trump then chucked and said, “What kind of people do I have here?”
According to numerous polls, Trump currently enjoys a double digit lead in New Hampshire, which is holding its Democratic and Republican presidential primaries today.
On Tuesday, Trump defended his actions, saying he was “doing everybody a favor” by making the woman’s comment clear to the crowd. The real estate mogul went on to describe how the crowd was “having a lot of fun” and really enjoyed the moment, without acknowledging the innate sexism and rudeness of the remark. “I got a standing ovation, the place went wild,” Trump said.
The p-word incident coincides with the release of a widely shared New York Times column on the harsh tone of the presidential race from conservative David Brooks. Entitled “I Miss Barack Obama,” the piece laments the loss of the president’s brand of more socially responsible rhetoric in the 2016 campaign.
“Now, obviously I disagree with a lot of Obama’s policy decisions. I’ve been disappointed by aspects of his presidency. I hope the next presidency is a philosophic departure,” writes Brooks. “But over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.”
Of course, Trump is likely no fan of Brooks, and based on a word association game he played with the “Morning Joe” hosts Tuesday, he has nothing but contempt for his would-be general election opponent, Democratic presdiential front-runner Hillary Clinton. After describing his GOP rivals Jeb Bush as a “loser,” Sen. Marco Rubio as “confused,” and Sen. Ted Cruz as “nasty,” it was his turn to weigh in on Clinton. Trump’s response: “In a way, evil.”
This may mark the first time a major candidate for the presidency has described an opponent of either party as “evil.” Keep in mind, in this same interview, Trump, who has contributed substantial money to Clinton in the past, acknowledged the widely known fact that she attended his third wedding in 2005.
When asked to give a one-word reaction to his own name, Trump first said “brilliant,” and then changed his answer to “nice person.”