Donald Trump’s Response to VP Debate Shows Him at All-Time Delusional Low

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Let’s set the stage: VP Debate. Pence’s job, per The New York Times, to “dodge and deflect” Trump’s words. Political satirist Craig Rozniecki points out, “Kaine quotes Trump. Pence laughs. Trump’s even a joke to his running mate.”

The trouble is, we can never be sure Pence was laughing at Trump rather than with him. It could even have been hysterical laughter, from the magnitude of the task before him. In the end, Pence’s strategy seems to have been to “keep calm and lie.”

Fox News declared Pence the winner, of course, without somehow having to explain how this meant Trump lost. Ezra Klein put it this way in a tweet:

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Or, put another way, “Mike Pence won. Donald Trump lost.” Because look at Trump during the debate. It was almost as if he was going out of his way to undermine his running mate.

Trump was in full melt-down mode during the debate, earlier likening Tim Kaine to a Batman villain and resorting to all-caps to claim Clinton’s “close ties” to Putin “deserve scrutiny.”

Of course, during the debate, Tim Kaine was busily hammering Mike Pence on Trump’s close ties to Russia, which seems to have prompted this knee-jerk Trump reaction of full-scale denial of a well-publicized reality.

While Trump was tweeting and deflecting, Pence was resorting to the frantic and nonsensical defense that to quote Trump was to insult Trump.

Where have we heard this before? Oh, that’s right: from Trump himself.

Trump actually got an early start, tweeting even before the debate a snarky response to Megyn Kelly, who joked earlier that Kellyanne Conway would be monitoring Trump’s twitter account:

Before it was over, he was retweeting comments from his supporters, like, “Kaine is awful, Trump and Pence are the ticket..no more lies, we are ready to see America Great Again!”

If the astonishing reference to “no more lies” to the man who tells more of them than almost anybody else in the entire history of the human species isn’t enough to provoke laughter, there was always whining, because if there is anything Trump does nearly as often as lie, it is whine.

So when a supporter tweeted, about CBS News’ Elaine Quijano, “Cannot believe how often the moderator interrupts #Pence vs the other guy…so obvious @FoxNews.” Trump added, “So true!”

David Axelrod made an interesting point about the debate:

Which sets the stage for Trump’s final tweet, one he would have sent out no matter how badly Pence floundered:

So did Pence win? And his job was just impossible? Folks are still going to vote for Clinton?

If so, it is difficult to see, exactly, how this debate was a win for Team Trump. Because if Pence won by throwing Trump under the bus, then Trump didn’t win; or as Ezra Klein put it, Pence won, Trump lost; and as has been suggested, positioned himself for 2020 rather than helped his political master to 2016.

John Hudak at Brookings summed up the debate’s results nicely, saying “Mike Pence fell short…of an impossible task”:

“…Tonight wasn’t about Hillary Clinton or Tim Kaine or even Mike Pence. Tonight was about Donald Trump, as much of this election has become, and there was little Mike Pence could do about it.”

Pence could have defended Trump, as CNBC’s John Harwood noted, but went with Plan B instead. As Alec MacGillis of ProPublica tweeted,

“Pence is giving the country a very good preview of how the Republican Party is going to move beyond Trump. Just pretend he never happened.”

And why not? It is precisely how they moved past George W. Bush, after all.

Last night was not a win for Trump, however you judge the outcome of the debate, unless Trump’s plan all along was to put forward his running mate as the GOP’s 2020 nominee. The fallout, you can be guaranteed, will be entertaining.