Donald Trump expanded his birther attacks to claim that both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz aren’t eligible to be president on ABC’s This Week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re hitting them pretty hard as well. You actually sent out a retweet yesterday, suggesting that Marco Rubio might be ineligible to be president, a tweet that said both Cruz and Rubio are ineligible to be POTUS.
Do you really believe that?
TRUMP: I think the lawyers have to determine that that — and not — it was a retweet, not so much with Marco. I’m not really that familiar with Marco’s circumstances —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But then why retweet it?
TRUMP: — problem but I think that — because I’m not sure. I mean, let people make their own determination. I know Ted is being now — I think he’s being sued by somebody having nothing to do with me, by the way.
Is being sued by somebody. Maybe it’s in New York, having to do with eligibility —
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re really not sure that Marco Rubio is eligible to run for president?
You’re really not sure?
TRUMP: I don’t know. I really — I’ve never looked at it, George. I honestly have never looked at it. As somebody said, he’s not. And I retweeted it. I have 14 million people between Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and I retweet things and we start dialogue and it’s very interesting. And maybe that’s why I have 14 million people (INAUDIBLE) 200 people, I don’t know.
It is easy to see where Trump is going with this. He is going to gut Rubio on immigration. Donald Trump all but ended Jeb Bush’s campaign with his anti-immigrant positions. Rubio’s support in the very recent past for comprehensive immigration reform will be Trump’s biggest weapon going forward. Donald Trump is using the birther attack as his gateway to hitting Marco Rubio on immigration.
On a secondary level, Trump is going back to the bigoted and racist dog whistles that have been the at the heart of his campaign. The Republican frontrunner is using the birther attack to remind primary voters that he is the only “pure” white man in the race. Trump’s attack on Rubio and Cruz is flat out bigotry, but judging by his previous success in this campaign, it is a reasonable chance of being successful.
The reason Donald Trump is the Republican frontrunner is because no candidate has been better at appealing to the dark underbelly of the Republican Party. Trump knows exactly what to say to appeal to ugliest biases and fears of primary voters.
Trump willingness to pull the full birther on the Republican field is an omen of how low he is willing to go to win the nomination. The Republican Party’s last best hope (Marco Rubio) is about to battered and bruised in his most vulnerable spot by Donald Trump.
Democrats can barely contain their glee as Donald Trump is guaranteeing that none of the Republican candidates will make it out of the primary politically viable for November.