Monday, September 11, 2017

Punching Always

There are few media figures more "inside the Beltway" than Chris Cillizza.  But at least in one way, he's out of character in his CNN article "The 48 most revealing lines of Steve Bannon's 60 Minutes interview."

Precious few individuals have questioned Donald Trump's claim of being a "counter puncher," frequently asserted by master strategist Trump to imply that he attacks only in self-defense. However, responding to Bannon's assertion to CBS' Charlie Rose that  "Donald Trump's a fighter. Great counter puncher. Great counter puncher. He's a fighter," Cillizza writes

The "counterpuncher" thing is straight from the mouth of Trump. What's interesting about it is that it's not totally true. Trump does do best when he is in a back and forth with someone -- President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, etc. But, it's not at all clear to me that Trump is always counterpunching. It feels like he is just punching a fair amount of the time.

Amen.  There are innumberable instances to demonstrate that Donald Trump is not a counter puncher but simply a puncher.

Consider the timeline of his feud with Megyn Kelly, then of GOP TV.  In an August 2015 debate, Kelly asked the candidate a question featuring "You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Trump struck back on Twitter and soon thereafter stated "You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” (Not all of them had first criticized Trump.)

Choosing to de-escalate, two months later Kelly told Charlie Rose "So we just wanted to forge forward and try to put it behind us, not pour any more fuel on that fire.”

And then the "counter puncher," faced with a good-faith effort to end the civil war between Republican and Republican, tweeted "Isn't it terrible that @megynkelly used a poll not used before (I.B.D.) when I was down, but refuses to use it now when I am up?"  Stirring up a pot which had settled down to cool is not counter-punching.

There was the time in July 2015 at a GOP presidential forum at an evangelical gathering when Trump commented that John McCain is "not a war hero.  He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Politico captured what happened next, including

.@SenJohnMcCain is an American hero & all POW’s deserve our nation’s highest debt of gratitude. @realDonaldTrump’s comments are disgraceful,” tweeted former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“As a fellow veteran I respect @SenJohnMcCain because he volunteered to serve his country. I cannot say the same about Mr. @realDonaldTrump,” Perry added. He then called in a statement for Trump to drop out of the race.

Rick Perry is now Secretary of Energy. Some conter-puncher, that Donald Trump. All he needs is an excuse to go at an opponent, even one who had been a supporter, although Generals seem to  be n exception. That's because there is a difference between being a coward.... and a counter puncher.

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