Shortly after Donald Trump was declared the presumptive Republican nominee, there was talk in the media that the spray-tanned billionaire was ready to shift into general election mode. The new and improved post-pivot Trump would sound responsible and tone down his rhetoric; he would make nice with GOP leadership and start to act presidential.
That lasted about 10 minutes.
Since Memorial Day, the Trump campaign has been imploding just a bit more each day. Instead of playing damage control and getting his act together, he keeps doubling down.
It began when Trump faced a barrage of questions from the media about his blatant exploitation of American veterans – we all know that story by now. But Trump didn’t try to tamp down the controversy or even spin it in his favor; he threw a temper tantrum comparable to that of a poorly-developed third grader. The former reality TV show lashed out at the press, calling one of the questioners “a sleaze,” all because he had the audacity to question Trump about money he was shamed into giving to veterans groups.
The Trump University lawsuit/dumpster fire also continued to rage on over the past week, with unsealed documents showing that even employees of the fake school believe it was a “fraudulent scheme” that exploited the vulnerable.
Once again, the man at the center of the controversy didn’t try to assuage the concerns of voters or even try to argue against the claims. Instead, Trump engaged in racial attacks against the judge hearing the case, calling him unqualified to render a fair verdict because “he’s a Mexican.”
In the countless interviews that followed – specifically this one with CNN’s Jake Tapper – Trump didn’t try to walk back his bigotry or, like he so often does, pretend it never happened; he again decided to double down. In a more recent interview, he even said he believes Muslim judges should be barred from hearing cases against him, too.
Basically, Donald Trump thinks you’re only qualified to do your job if you’re a white Christian. That’s not left-wing hyperbole, either. It’s what just what the man himself has been saying lately.
These inflammatory remarks didn’t just earn the backlash of eager Democrats. Republicans, from Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to Newt Gingrich and Ben Sasse, said that Trump’s remarks are indefensible.
Sasse even came out with this stinging tweet:
Public Service Announcement:
Saying someone can’t do a specific job because of his or her race is the literal definition of “racism.”
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 6, 2016
Longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson chimed in, too, slamming Republicans who have rallied around the New York billionaire.
“You own his politics,” Wilson wrote in a column for Heat Street. “You own the racial animus that started out as a bug, became a feature and is now the defining characteristic of his campaign. You own every crazy, vile chunk of word vomit that spews from his mouth.”
If you think all of this would be enough to convince Trump to at least temporarily pretend he isn’t a flaming racist, you’d be wrong.
Today in a conference call with surrogates, Trump ignored orders given by his own campaign and instead directed his supporters to defend his bigoted attacks on the Indiana-born judge.
“Take that order and throw it the hell out,” the presumptive GOP nominee said during the call, according to Bloomberg.
Of course, all of this goes without mentioning Hillary Clinton’s well-received speech last week, when she slammed Trump’s “incoherence” and said he was “temperamentally unfit” to serve as president. It was the smackdown that Democrats have been waiting to hear from the likely Democratic nominee for months.
Overall, it appears that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is completely imploding. From his temper tantrums to his inexcusable racism, the past week has been devastating for the presumptive nominee. His doubling down will only make it worse.
Can he recover? Certainly. For the good of the country, let’s hope he doesn’t.