Republican candidate for President Donald J Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at Ambridge Area Senior High School on Oct. 10, 2016 in Ambridge, Pa. 
Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty

Donald Trump’s latest threat rings hollow

There’s no denying the damage Donald Trump’s campaign has suffered since Friday afternoon. An audio clip from 2005 in which Trump bragged about sexual assault has thrown his candidacy and his party into turmoil, further undermining a campaign that was already losing.

As Rachel noted on the show, however, more tapes may yet surface. Indeed, with four weeks remaining before Election Day, and rumors swirling, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if additional recordings created new embarrassments for the controversial Republican presidential candidate.

But don’t worry, Republicans, Trump has a plan. In fact, as Yahoo News reported yesterday, the GOP nominee hopes to stop future tapes with a new threat.
Amid rumors of potentially more tapes showing him making inappropriate comments in the past, Donald Trump issued a threat to rival Hillary Clinton, saying Monday that if he keeps getting attacked, he’ll keep talking about the women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault and harassment. […]

Rumors have swirled of other potentially damaging videos from his days as host of “The Apprentice” and other past interviews floating around. And Trump seemed to confirm there could be more shoes to drop and issued a threat to his critics. “They want to release more tapes [of me] saying inappropriate things, we’ll continue to talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton doing inappropriate things,” the GOP nominee declared.
NBC News posted the video of these remarks online here.

This is not a smart strategy.

First, Trump obviously believes there are additional recordings of him “saying inappropriate things,” as he put it, which will only encourage researchers to keep digging, knowing there’s more newsworthy content out there.

Second, the Republican nominee apparently assumes those in the media doing research on Trump’s record are partisans, motivated solely by Clinton’s electoral interests, which he believes makes his threat potent. That’s absurd. Plenty of journalists are investigating Trump’s record because he’s a candidate for the nation’s highest office, not because they want Clinton to win. Threatening them by saying more tapes will mean more anti-Clinton attacks will have no effect.

And finally, whether Trump realizes this or not, he’s already fired the big gun. Over the weekend, Trump ignored his party’s advice, turned back the clock 20 years, and decided assorted Bill Clinton accusers of varying degrees of credibility are now a central part of his campaign message.

And it landed with a thud. As was the case in the 1990s, the attacks impressed no one except rabid far-right activists who were already going to support Trump anyway.

In effect, his threat last night amounted to, “Stop making me look bad or I’ll repeat an ineffective attack!”