After his xenophobic comments in his campaign kickoff, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has become quite the lightening rod. It’s been challenging to keep up with all of the businesses that no longer want anything to do with the controversial candidate, though the list continues to grow – ESPN broke off its Trump ties yesterday.
Given the circumstances, it’s tempting to think the GOP candidate would start to walk back his anti-Mexican rhetoric, for financial reasons if no other, but yesterday, he did the exact opposite. As Bloomberg Politics reported, Trump issued a 900-word statement yesterday afternoon, telling the world how right he was when he accused Mexican immigrants of being drug-carrying rapists.
“I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech,” Trump wrote. [….]Trump then turns his focus to Mexico. “I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples’ great spirit,” he wrote. “The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours.”
Even when bashing immigrants, Trump remembered how important it is to slam President Obama, too.
The lengthy statement included the relevant excerpt from his campaign kickoff, which Trump followed with, “What can be simpler or more accurately stated?” It was a rhetorical question, of course, though it’s probably worth reemphasizing that Trump has no idea what he’s talking about.
What’s more, as Rachel noted on the show last night, towards the end of the written tirade, Trump argued, “After the speech was made, there were numerous compliments and indeed, many rave ‘reviews’ – there was very little criticism. It wasn’t until a week after my announcement that people started to totally distort these very easy to understand words. If there was something stated incorrectly, it would have been brought up immediately and with great enthusiasm.”
Perhaps Trump wasn’t paying close enough attention to the news in mid-June.
The obvious problem – or benefit, depending on one’s perspective – with the Republican issuing this latest harangue is that it starts the process over again. Trump has doubled down on his anti-Mexican rhetoric, which means a new round of attention – attention that’s given Trump a significant boost in GOP polling – and a new round of questions for his rivals about their reactions to his antics.
Trump seized the spotlight, took control of the Republican conversation, and as of yesterday afternoon, he’s not letting go.
For national GOP politics, this probably isn’t good news. MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin had a good report last night, stressing an important, big-picture point: “Donald Trump is surging in popularity with Republicans, while suffering a meltdown in Hispanic media over inflammatory remarks about Mexican immigrants – a radioactive combination that threatens to drag down the GOP’s efforts to win Latino voters.”
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