Was it really a surprise? For some, yes.
Chris Hayes Wednesday evening commented
Recent polls have shown Trump slipping further and further behind Hillary Clinton, the latest from FOX News, giving her a ten-point lead. But what seems to have sent the GOP into full panic mode over the past 24 hours was Trump`s refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top Republicans in their upcoming primaries.
Lindsey McPherson at Roll Call actually believed
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's initial reluctance to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may be coming back to haunt him. Trump is now flipping the script and withholding his endorsement for Ryan ahead of the Wisconsin Republican's August 9 primary.
Maybe she should have read the next sentence when she wrote
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday with The Washington Post. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
Astonishingly, McPherson and Hayes weren't alone in believing Trump might not come along. Yet, three days earlier he had said he would: "I'm just not quite there yet. I'm not quite there yet." When in December, 2010 President Obama said of same-sex marriage "My feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this," he was telegraphing the support he would not publicly admit until Joe Biden came out for it during the 2008 campaign.
And just as Obama told us he eventually would eventually be a proponent of same-sex marriage (as most Americans already realized he would), Grump indicated that he would ultimately endorse Ryan, as he did Friday, depicted in the hostage tape below. Similarly, he is telling us what will occur if- as expected- he loses in November.
He will not go quietly into that good night. Monday night he declared "I'm afraid the election's going to be rigged. I have to be honest," fittingly in the state- Ohio- in which the election was rigged in 2004.
There are two possible perspectives on Trump's remark. The more unlikely, Machiavellian yet plausible, explanation is that he knows it will be rigged because he intends to promote the actual rigging, which many voting machines are practically crying out for.
This explanation, however, violates the law of parsimony, which would suggest that Trump believes that he will lose and at that time will emphasize the "rigging" of the election. He will not graciously accept defeat while congratulating Hillary Clinton and pledging his support for the new Administration. He will cry foul and use every legal means at his disposal to upend the results of the election.
At that time, the media will express some sort of surprise at Trump's stubborness and elfishness. But as with his support of Ryan, Obama's welcome of gay marriage, and Sanders' figurative embrace at the Democratic convention of Hillary Clinton, it has been well advertised.
The only surprise should be Trump's assertion "I have to be honest." There is, however, a first time for everything.