The latest Trump rake to the face kicked off yesterday, when Karl "The Architect" Rove revealed that The Donald did not, after all, oppose Operation Iraqi Freedom at the time:
Despite his many claims on the campaign trail, Donald Trump did not oppose the Iraq War before George W. Bush declared it in March 2003, Republican consultant Karl Rove said.
Citing research from PolitiFact, Rove said in his column in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday that Trump "did not publicly oppose the war before it began in March 2003."
He cited a January 2003 interview with Fox News in which Trump said that Bush "has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps we shouldn't be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations."
Rove called Trump's statement "incoherent."
"Of course the president was either going to do something or not do something," he said. "And the U.N. did authorize military action by finding Iraq in material breach of the surrender agreement that Saddam [Hussein] signed to end the first Gulf War."
Not, of course, that we needed U.N. "permission".
Rove also noted that Trump praised Bush in the same Fox interview, saying that the president was "doing a very good job."...
Four months earlier, he was more, if nominally so, effusively supportive:
But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In the interview, which took place on September 11th, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq.
“Yeah I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
And in his 2000 book The America We Deserve, Trump had this to say on the topic:
But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.” [emphasis added]
It sounds to me like Trump was either a staunch backer of what became Operation Iraqi Freedom or was pretending to be - like pretty much every other prominent Democrat at the time. Just as he sounds like pretty much every other prominent Democrat on the subject since. Which is an odd stance to take in an ostensibly "Republican" presidential primary campaign.
Back to The Architect:
"None of this was a 'loud and clear' warning 'not to go into Iraq,'" he added, citing Trump's assertions during Saturday's debate in South Carolina that he had long opposed the war.
"None of this was a 'loud and strong' declaration that 'you'll destabilize the Middle East,'" Rove continued. "They were instead the ramblings of a half-informed real-estate developer who now wants to sound like Henry Kissinger.
Indeed. Which still puzzles me, because it makes him sound like he's running in the wrong party. And now he's been proven to have been lying about it besides. Is that - either one - supposed to make him more appealing to conservative voters? Or is it, as I believe, his towering confidence that he's got Trumplicans so hopelessly mesmerized that he's free to be the leftwingnut he's always been, closing the GOP circle all the way back, pre-Reagan, pre-Goldwater, to the infamous Nelson Rockefeller, Trump's closest twentieth century antecedent?
Demonstrating that the Obamedia has already annointed Trump the "Republican" nominee by now going after him at every single opportunity, CNN's Anderson Cooper dropped the Rove bomb on the billionaire slumlord at the Trump Review convention yesterday evening:
COOPER: Again, continuing. I literally was just handed this. There’s a report now out tonight on Buzzfeed that includes – I have not heard it – includes an audio clip of what appears to be you on Howard Stern talking on the radio on September 11th, 2002. He asked you are you for invading Iraq? You said yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly. Is that accurate? Do you remember saying that?
TRUMP: No. But, I mean, I could – I could have said that. Nobody asked me – I wasn’t a politician. It was probably the first time anybody asked me that question.
COOPER: But does that…
TRUMP: But by the time the war started – that was quite a bit before the war started.
COOPER: Yeah, this was 2002.
TRUMP: By the time the war started, I was against the war. And there are articles – I mean, there are headlines in 2003, 2004 that I was totally against the war. And actually, a couple of people in your world in terms of the pundits, said, you know, there’ definite proof in 2003, 2004 Trump was against it.
COOPER: But 2004, the Reuters article, which you pointed to a lot, and there were a couple of comments you made, I think, at a Vanity Fair party and one other comment. Those were, I think, a couple of weeks after the war began.
TRUMP: Which is OK. A lot of people said – you know, it was so early that even if it was a little bit after the war, I mean, he was totally against the war. I was very much against it. That was probably the first time I was ever even asked about the war.
Except....Trump was NOT very much against Operation Iraqi Freedom at that time; he was FOR it, to varying degrees. Even after being called out on it publicly, he persists in his Democrat history revisionism.
This has some similarities to Marco Rubio's evasions on the "Gang of Eight" bill. Just as I argued forty minutes ago that the Florida senator should just admit he was wrong to be a part of that debacle instead of making endless excuses for it, if opposition is how Trump really feels about Operation Iraqi Freedom, why can't he just say that he supported it back then but has changed his mind about it since? It's not as if anybody (apart from his droolingly deluded followers) credits him with having any principles beyond "Look out for #1" anyway. He's always been a personal "frontrunner," after all, although his greed has made him resistant to folding bad hands, as his four bankruptcies attest. So why writ that positional devolution mendatiously large by insistently and angrily claiming that he "never" supported invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein? Why do Trumplicans want a POTUS who is without honesty, character, principle, or commitment, and who has such abysmally poor, to say nothing of flighty, judgment?
Here's a thought: Trump has already duped the Left into hating him; if he were actually elected, it wouldn't take him long to earn the outraged, betrayal-fueled hatred of the Right as well. He wouldn't know what the hell he was doing from day one in office and would be highly unlikely to want to learn. The malevolence of Barack Obama would be gone, but his incompetence would carry on, at a perhaps even more accelerated pace. Disasters would continue - probably inlcuding an even worse mass-casualty jihadist strike than the 9/11 attacks for which Trump viciously smeared Bush43 last weekend. Would President Donnie be able to take the heat, endure the cratering public approval ratings and angry public denunciations? We know how thin-skinned he is, after all. So wouldn't he be more likely to just resign and go home? After all, he's all about "winning," not what comes after it. He always gets what he wants, and then he's off to the next conquest, abandoning his previous ones to decay and rot....and slip into bankruptcy.
I submit to you that Trump, if he is elected, will not serve out his term.
Which means that his choice of running mate, should he get the opportunity to make that selection, will be of potentially critical importance.
One more prediction: non-Trumplican Tea Partiers will not like it.
UPDATE: Mona Charen nails it:
No, there’s a better theory for why 35% of Republican primary voters are ready to hand the nomination to a bullying, loutish con man who accuses George W. Bush of war crimes while promising to commit some of his own (killing the wives and children of suspected terrorists, stealing the oil of Middle Eastern nations).
For the past several years, leading voices of what Matt Lewis has called “con$ervative” media, along with groups like Heritage Action, and politicians such as Senator Ted Cruz, have ceaselessly flogged the false storyline that the Republican “grassroots” have been betrayed by the Republican leadership in Washington.
Rather than aim their anger at Barack Obama and the Democrats, commentators such as Ann Coulter and Mark Levin, right-wing websites, and many others have instead repeated the libel that “Republicans gave Obama everything he wanted.” There has been a flavor of the “stab in the back” to these accusations. But for the treachery of the Republican party, they claim, a party too timorous or too corrupt to stand up to Obama, we could have defunded Obamacare, balanced the budget, halted the Iran deal, you name it.
Aiming fire at your own side can be very satisfying for radio wranglers, et al. They have zero influence on Obama, but they can take down Eric Cantor. They can’t do much about Eric Holder, but they can dethrone John Boehner....
[T]he list of Obama initiatives Republicans thwarted is very long (universal pre-K, gun control, “paycheck fairness,” higher taxes). Moreover, the bloc of conservatives in the House that refused to vote for any budget made it that much more difficult for leadership to exert pressure on Democrats. Lastly, who believes it makes no difference that Republicans control the Senate in the wake of Justice Scalia’s death?
So congratulations to those conservatives who’ve been preaching the “betrayal” of the base by the "establishment". You’ve won. You’ve convinced 70% of the Republican primary electorate (per the CBS poll) that the most important quality in a candidate is that he will “shake up the political system.”
With all its faults, the Republican party is the only vehicle for conservative ideas in this country. Conservatives themselves, or at least those who styled themselves conservatives, may have sabotaged it, handing the reins not to a moderate, nor even to a liberal Republican, but to a lifelong Democrat. [emphases emphatically added]
Worlds without end, hallelujah amen. Because politics is a zero-sum game.
And the name of that lifelong Democrat will be Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, ....or Donald Trump.
UPDATE II: A glimmer of hope for tomorrow?:
Donald Trump is now leading Saturday’s South Carolina Republican primary by five points — down from his sixteen-point lead in the State a month ago, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.
Trump gets support from 28% of likely Republican primary voters in the state, while Ted Cruz gets 23%. They’re followed by Marco Rubio at 15%, Jeb Bush at 13%, and John Kasich and Ben Carson at 9% each.
In the January NBC/WSJ/Marist poll — conducted before this month’s Iowa and New Hampshire contests — Trump held a sixteen-point over Cruz, 36% to 20%, with Rubio at 14% and Bush at 9%.
A Clemson University survey confirms it.
Cruz hasn't scooped up as many ex-Trumplicans as one would have hoped, but perhaps with Rubio blowing himself up last night, he can make up the remainder of that ground, pass Trump, win South Carolina, and revive the chances of saving the GOP and the conservative movement from oblivion. Or will Trump succeed in running out the clock? This is about the same sized lead as he had going into the Iowa Caucuses, after all.
UPDATE III: C'mon, Trumplicans, are you still going to vote for this asshole after this?: