If you live in Kentucky or New Hampshire, that next phone call could be from Donald Trump. Trump told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" on Monday he might be making house calls this election cycle for Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and former Sen. Scott Brown, who's running in New Hampshire. "I have a lot of people that want to run for office or who are running for office … and it's not even the money that they want, they want robocalls," Trump said. "That's the new thing, you do a robo."
Two years ago, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney had no qualms about palling around with television personality Donald Trump. The two hosted joint events, and when Trump announced his support for Romney, the Republican was eager to stand by Trump's side.
Even at the time, the association seemed odd. Trump's most notable contribution to the political discourse is the loathsome "birther" conspiracy theory, which the television personality invested considerable energy in, and yet, Republicans saw no need to distance themselves from the nonsense.
Two years later, they apparently still don't. Kendall Breitman reported this morning:
About an hour after the Politico report was published, Trump turned to Twitter to voice additional support for McConnell, saying the Kentucky Republican "may be the next Speaker." (Trump doesn't seem to realize that the senator hopes to become Senate Majority Leader, not the House Speaker, which is an entirely different chamber of Congress.)
As part of his appearance on Fox News this morning, Trump went on to say he's meeting with McConnell today, adding that former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), now running in New Hampshire, is also "coming up to see me."
Trump also boasted that his robocalls are "listened to more than anybody else's robo."
Now, it's possible that Trump is making all of this up. Maybe he's not recording any robocalls; maybe Mitch McConnell won't give him the time of day; maybe Scott Brown has no interest in meeting him; and maybe Trump is making these self-aggrandizing boasts in the hopes of appearing politically relevant.
Or more alarmingly, maybe he's telling the truth.
Perhaps, even now, after all the conspiracy garbage and public embarrassments, Republicans still see Trump as a valuable ally and a prominent voice who can help candidates by "doing a robo." (Update: It appears Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell's challenger in Kentucky, is having some fun at Trump's expense.)
My hope has long been that the political mainstream would eventually see Trump as a strange carnival barker who long ago forfeited the right to be taken seriously as a credible national figure. That day has apparently not yet arrived.
That said, I still think this should have done the trick.