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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trump's Achilles heel

We saw Donald Trump at his worst this past weekend, responding to Kizr Khan, that Muslim father of a slain American soldier who spoke at the DNC. Trump should have either ignored the speech, or responded by honoring that family's sacrifice, then simply said, but we have to stop allowing in more immigrants who hate this country and are potential terrorists.

Or, Trump might have said that he honored the family's sacrifice, then said, but we have to take a realistic look at the number of Muslims killed fighting for the US military vs. the number of US soldiers killed by American Muslims, in Ft. Hood and elsewhere. (I've been told the latter number is higher.)

Or, he could have said, if all Muslims were like the Khans and their heroic son, the thought of stopping immigration would never have even occurred to him. But unfortunately, too many are like Omar Mateen, or the Tsarnaevs, or Nidal Hasan (the Ft. Hood shooter), or like Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook (the San Bernadino shooters). And by the way, at the Republican National Convention we didn't think to feature the families of the victims of those attacks, because we don't exploit people the way the Democrats do.

Instead, Trump mocked the Muslim mother who didn't talk, then said something incredibly lame about how he too had sacrificed by "working hard to create jobs." To compare that "sacrifice" to that of parents who lost a child is downright obscene.

Trump's Achilles heel is that he is so thin-skinned that he'll lash out at anyone who has criticized him, in any way he can, without forethought.

Hillary's advisors must be licking their chops thinking of ways to bait him. The Hillary campaign is probably planning right now to get surrogates to call Trump fat, say his wife and daughter Ivanka have both had a lot of work done, and suggest that he inherited his wealth and how he's not worth nearly what he says.

Imagine the scene at a Trump press conference. Some plant gets the microphone and says to Trump, "You're never hesitant to criticize women for their looks, but doesn't that make you a hypocrite given that you're so overweight yourself?"

Trump will respond, indignantly, "What? That's -- that's ridiculous. I've been known as a good-looking man my entire life. I hear that from a lot of people. A lot of people. some of the top people, as a matter of fact. And hey -- have you ever taken a look at Hillary? Now she's really fat."

The headlines the next day will read, "Trump calls Hillary 'really fat'."

That will not win the women's vote. It may even do the impossible, and make people feel sympathy for Hillary.

If Trump is smart, he'll just laugh and respond, "Okay, do we have any serious questions?"

But his Achilles heel may not allow for that. If Trump doesn't learn to rein himself in, he has no chance of being elected.


Luqman said...

I think you are wrong about this John. There was simply no way he could have let that speech lie. Considering the situation purely tactically, a deferential attitude would ultimately validate the couple and the father`s DNC speech. If Trump had been gracious, he would have been called a hypocrite ultimately due to his statements on Muslims, which would require a further defense and so on so forth. The only comment which toed the line was about the mother I think but even that was not a bad move, just ungracious.

Regarding sacrifice, what should he have said in response to that prompting? The setup was for him to fail to present a morally equivalent sacrifice (obviously) so it would be much better to say something minimal or repeat the usual message than to allow belittling of something more substantial he presents by comparison with the enormity of losing a son for your country. Trump seems to be very aware of the nature of this move and is handling it as well as he could.

The reason Trump is able to weather the media narrative in the first place is because he does not allow himself to be put on the defensive or to fall in line with any narrative. Trumps loud mouth was supposed to get him in trouble from before the primaries. The man is counting on being `baited` this way!

I find it amusing that this couple went up and spoke for the benefit of a candidate that voted for the unjust war in which their son was killed. The current Trump attitude regarding this couple is a good setup for the debates with Clinton.

Trump does appear to be narcissistic and easygoing, but not uninhibited or reckless. The guy who writes the Dilbert comic has been writing about the persuasion tactics and narrative managment employed by Trump, you may possibly find those a good read.

John Craig said...

Luqman --
I'm not suggesting Trump should have let that speech lie. I'm suggesting there was a better way of handling it. Yes, the whole thing was set up to catch him in a trap, but he should have known better than to fall into it. There's just no way that "working hard to create jobs" is anywhere near the sacrifice of losing one's son, and he could have easily acknowledged at the outset that he hadn't had to experience that.

I agree that Trump has done surprisingly well weathering the media so far, and that the electorate has been able to look past the slanted media spin. But they're going to sharpen their talons now that the primaries are over and it's Trump vs. a Democrat rather than Trump vs. other Republicans. And it's going to be harder to do.

Agree completely about the hypocrisy of the Khans being at the DNC when Hillary voted for Iraq and Trump was against it from the beginning. But Trump needs to have more people in his organization, people who'll point this out and then do stuff like research on Mr. Khan himself, who I just found out last night is not only a lawyer specializing in bringing more Muslims into this country, but also has close Saudi ties and wants to promote Sharia law and is possibly an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood (can't prove that last bit).

Disagree with your assessment of Trump, though, Trump IS reckless. He just shoots from the hip all the time. He's got to realize that the biased media is going to scrutinize everything he says in a way they're not with Hillary, and choose his words accordingly. And he's got to develop a thicker skin. I have been reading about his persuasion tactics, painting himself as a winner and the other Republicans as losers worked well in the primary, I hope they work as well in the general election. But he's got to focus on Hillary an not let himself get into mini-wars with everybody who criticizes him.

Unknown said...

Kizr Khan is a traitor who wants more Muslims in America and to impose sharia law. He was a Democrat plant.

John Craig said...

Bob --
No question about that. The Republicans just have to learn how to spin this; but for some reason, they can't. It's frustrating.

Luqman said...


Thank you for the considered reply. A picture of Trump as reckless does not seem to me to fit his life to date. The recklessness does not appear in his personal relationships nor his business dealings. With regards to pronouncements and stated positions; except the Obama birth certificate stuff Trump was not, until recently, known as man who expressed his opinions from media platforms in an out of control fashion (correct me if I am wrong). When Obama made a joke at his expense at the white house correspondents dinner he did not appear pleased but did not act out in any way. A reckless personality should manifest itself globally, I dont believe this holds up with Trump and therefore his behaviour in this campaign, which has been enormously successful, should be reassessed.

I agree with you in principle that Trump should not allow himself to be distracted, however as far as I can see it is him who is in control and the media that is floundering. Not certain what you are referring to as surprising. Trump fully realizes exactly what the media can do and what it is set out to do. Yet, maligned as he is, nothing ultimately sticks to him and this is no coincidence, luck or leeway that he has an anti-establishment candidate.

Just a few days ago Trump was weathering claims of treason. Did that situation end badly for him in your opinion? The man is making liberals sound like neocon warhawks. When people see everything he says turning into a controversy, mostly unjustified, it is not Trump they will lose faith in but the media. It is important for his victory that they hound him universally, consistently and in such an amplified fashion that it becomes ridiculous. I believe he realizes this and is giving them rope to hang themselves with. They are happily obliging.

That said, I believe you are correct when you say he shoots from the hip. I simply disagree that it is reckless. That is part of the strategy. Say something off the cuff, have it blown out of proportion, lightly clarify (but not defend) the statement/dismiss the narrative, move on to the next `controversy`. Always attack, keep it go, never pause, never defend. Naturally such a strategy will sometimes legitimately toe the line. It is now at the point where supposedly neutral international media is falling over itself to present Trump stories of this caliber:

I must admit, I was turned off by Trump when he first came on the stage, but whether or not he would make a good president he is certainly a master at manipulating the media.

John Craig said...

Luqman --
Thank you for your reply....I think we're just differing on how we're defining "reckless." I'm referring to his campaigning (and Tweeting) style, not his business dealings or personal life.

I agree with you principle about everything you say about the media's bias and Trump's being willing to call it like it is. And you don't have to convince me that he is the better candidate, he already has my vote. What I'm concerned about is whether he wins the election, and that will hinge, as it usually does, on how the narrow band of people who are true independents will vote, as well as turnout. There's only that small group of people who really haven't made up their minds yet, the rest of the electorate is pretty ossified in terms of which way they lean, and none of them are going to change based on anything. (And, btw, I see some hope that a lot of the diehard Bernie supporters will simply not turn up at the polls.) Anyway, winning the independents over is going to have to be done with more finesse; throwing more red meat at the disaffected whites who are sick of being told about their white privilege is going to make his base happy, but not going to win the independents. And the independents are likely to be turned off by any sort of statements denigrating Gold Star parents. So he has to be careful.

I think only the extreme Left thought Trump was actually treasonous with that joke about the Russians finding Hillary's emails. Most people realized it was just a joke from the start, and it was basically only the media that tried to turn it into something it wasn't. But even I was turned off by the fact that Trump tried to equate his hard work with losing a son; so I wouldn't compare those two incidents. Agree, though, that the first incident blew over, and this one will for the most part too, though the accumulation of poorly phrased personal insults is gong to wear on him with the independents in the end.

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself a question: Are you up in arms with hatred of Trump because a pair of Muslim fanatics and standing atop the coffin of their heroically dead son, capitalizing on his corpse to spit paid hatred at Trump? Really?
I didn’t think so.
The left in this country still thinks that charges of “racism” (Muslims aren’t a race, but never mind) have tremendously destructive power. Top that with charges of “racist hatred of an American hero who gave his life to his country,” and they believe they have ginned up a perfect storm that will sweep Trump away.
What they don’t, and probably never will, understand, is the power of three simple words, words their own actions over decades, all the lies, all the smears, all the betrayals of oath, principle, and country have imbued with even greater power:
We. Don’t. Care.
We know they are treacherous liars, and we don’t care what they say.
They call us racists. We don’t care.
They call us un-American. We don’t care.
They call us right-wing nutjobs. We don’t care.
We know what they are, which is why the only thing we do care about is helping Donald Trump destroy them,
So far, we’ve done a pretty good job of it. They wouldn’t be raging in their current state of panic and terror if we had not,
So keep a steady course. Ignore all the crap they are, and will continue, to throw at us, at Trump, and at America itself.
Remember, we are backing Trump against a proven criminal, traitor, and Marxist fanatic who despises America and would destroy it, and its constitution, forever, if she can.
We won’t let her do that.
Steady as she goes. Ignore their FUD. Remember the goal. Make America Great Again.
And we will.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I agree completely with everything you just said.......but I still wish Trump would learn to roll with the punches a little, otherwise he's not going to be elected. You and i aren't the ones who need to be convinced, it's the independents, and they're not going to be inclined to vote for a guy who punches down at every single person who criticizes him.

jova said...

it will be much more difficult for Trump going forward, since the media is now 100% against him. During the primary season , while they did attack him, he was able to easily recover since the media was not as focused to destroy him. Over the next 3 months it will be non-stop anti-Trump reporting. So you are correct, Trump needs to adjust his first response reactions and maintain his composure. I still think Trump can win against Hillary. He will do well in the debates, and needs to keep hammering Hillary for her plan to open the borders.

John Craig said...

Jova --
You're right, the media will do its utmost to keep him from office. And unfortunately, that's going to include the debate moderators. But Trump does have a chance to shine, if he can stay on target as he did during his RNC speech, and doesn't get distracted by the circus and all the plants who will do their best to keep him unbalanced. Hillary is a target rich environment herself, so the liberals will try to keep the focus on Trump.

I heard a rumor today that Assange is saying that the next round of leaks on the DNC could land Hillary in jail, I hope it's true, though I doubt it. The current D of J wouldn't indict Hillary if she were caught on tape murdering her husband.

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe in secret societies, the end goal being the establishment of a New World Order (NWO). Obama and Clinton (and many in government) are united in trying to create a NWO. I would love to see them defeated, but time will tell if that will happen. As far as Trump is concerned, his enemies are doing a great job of attacking him. Trump needs our prayers. I would not want him to crack under the pressure, because of what his enemies are slinging at him. May God be with him, strengthening and sustaining him.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
The media is part of that not-so-secret society, they want the same thing.

I don't think Trump will crack under the pressure, he's too narcissistic for that, too self-confident, but I do hope he watches his tongue.

Steven said...

Clint Eastwood came out in support of Trump and lambasted the pussy generation, which he is against, not to be confused with actual pussy, which he is in favour of.

Eastwood is an archetype of masculinity and has been anti-pussy all of his career.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I did see that, thank you.

I would have voted for Eastwood for President back when. He's a no-nonsense, commonsensical guy.

Unknown said...

On a related note this article on Obama made me want to puke:

Could he be more of a mangina for the feminist cause? Yeah, because he really should be able to juggle being POTUS and hours of parenting each day.

John Craig said...

Gambino Dellacroce --
That is sickening. I can't even watch Obama on TV or hear his lying voice these days without wanting to puke. In fact I haven't been able to watch the State of the Union address since around '09 or '10 for that reason.

I also wonder if he wrote that article himself.

Mark Caplan said...

Trump's Achilles heel is located between his ears. June 2015 marks the last time Trump made an intelligent remark, saying, “I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”

Anonymous said...


These comments make me very frustrated. I could not agree with you more about how he handled this. One of my chief complaints about US politics is that even high IQ pols, such as Richard Nixon, don't respond with the adroitness one sees in British pols, because they dumb down their responses and because this country is so PC. (PC is many decades old. It's not an invention of the New Left, although they have taken it to new heights.)

Trump blasted open many doors and destroyed many taboos. Love him for this. But he's so maladroit tactically, and as you say, so thin skinned. The comments frustrate me because they are typical of so many Trump supporters, which I consider myself. They blame everything on the MSM, on liberals, etc.

Normally I agree with them. Of course, the MSM are bastards and want Trump to go down in flames. But in this case, he shot himself in the foot. I hope he can survive.


John Craig said...

Puzzled --
You're absolutely right. This wasn't the mainstream media taking him down, or twisting his words (which they actually do, on a regular basis). This was just Trump being an a-hole. At times I wonder if he doesn't really want to be elected. Or if he has so little self-awareness that he has no idea how he's coming across. I support Trump too, and it's incredibly frustrating.