CLINTON: Well, Chris, I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security Trust Fund. That's part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it. But what we want to do is to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund...TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.
Americans have become so accustomed to seeing Donald Trump on their television screens that some may occasionally forget he has no idea what he's doing. The Republican presidential nominee has never sought public office, has no previous experience in debates, and in the midst of the toughest job interview anyone could ever experience, he's never even applied for a job.The result is an amateur who makes rookie mistakes -- because he doesn't know how to avoid them.Towards the end of last night's presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked the candidates about the Social Security and Medicare eventually running out of money, which led him to ask about the possibility of a "grand bargain" along the lines of the ones Republicans rejected in 2011. It's not an especially sexy topic, but it led to one of the evening's more memorable moments.
If you missed the debate, you might think Trump interrupted with this insult in the middle of a heated back-and-forth, but that's not at all what happened. The debate was nearly over; Wallace asked about a relatively unexciting topic; and Clinton made a comment in passing that happens to be true: her opponent has made every effort to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.Trump didn't need to say a word, and if he were inclined to react, he could have tried to say something substantive about tax policy. But his lack of preparation, discipline, and impulse control led him to blurt out the first thought came to his mind: Clinton is "such a nasty woman."Why? Because she had the audacity to briefly note a fact Trump prefers to overlook.The 2016 cycle has had an unfortunate inuring effect on many of us -- I'll confess it's affected me, too -- but this kind of snide attack is the sort of thing modern presidential candidates simply don't say. In 1984, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush created a mess for himself by adopting a condescending attitude towards then-Rep. Geraldine Ferraro. The idea, however, that Bush would have interrupted her to admonish his rival as "a nasty woman" is simply hard to even fathom, and Bush would have faced intense pressure to apologize had he made such a comment.A generation later, Trump believes he can get away with tactics like these, largely because much of the country already expects the worst of him.Nevertheless, in the process, the Republican created a gender-based rallying cry for Clinton's supporters, all because Trump couldn't help himself.For a candidate who's already gone out of his way to alienate women, it was the latest in a series of unforced errors.