A TURNING POINT . . . AND TRUMP NEVER SAW IT COMING
Who would have thought this would finally happen? In such a seemingly innocent way?
Like most egotists unable to see themselves for what they are, Trump finally made a fatal mistake. In his quest for a new target he chose somebody he perceived as vulnerable and weak, an individual whose wife he could mock, a foreign victim unlikely to fight back. (Never a Michael Bloomberg or a Leon Panetta, you notice).
And he chose wrong.
Until Trump zeroed in on him, Khizr Kahn was a relative unknown, a Muslim immigrant with an accent and no national name recognition. Nobody had yet heard from his wife. But in the Democratic convention the couple played a brief role, honored as parents of a Captain in Iraq who died in the act of saving others. In spite of their loss, the parents were so in love with America that Mr. Kahn kept copies of the Constitution in his home for the express purpose of giving it to others.
The night of his speech, Mr. Kahn’s finding the Constitution in his coat pocket caught him by surprise. He hadn’t intended to bring it. But mid-oratory, he was so caught up in his message that he drew out the tattered booklet and challenged Trump to read it. Khizr Kahn’s unexpected moment turned into a highlight of the convention.
Two days later, Trump unleashed his venom. With the instincts of a jackal, he went for the couple’s weak spot: as a Muslim woman, Mrs. Kahn was forced to remain silent. Trump said, “Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” In one dumb moment he disparaged both Kahns and all Muslim women.
This time Donald stepped on a land mine.
Calmly, in elegant prose and with only the slightest rancor, Mr. Kahn fought back. Given a slot on all the major news channels, he explained that Mrs. Kahn was too distressed at the thought of her son to summon a speaker’s composure. Furthermore, Kahn added, Trump lacked the empathy to be president. The media encouraged him to keep talking, and Kahn did, at times more eloquently than anyone else.
By then a wise candidate would have offered a brief, sympathetic message and abandoned that line of attack. Not Trump. As usual, he doubled down, making the point that he, too, had “sacrificed”—by creating thousands of jobs. For days, to the media’s delight, Trump kept the fires lit, until it fell to Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence to make apologies and try to soothe the masses. But even he couldn’t make up for Trump’s nasty comment in a recent rally, “Get that baby out of here.”
This was the week the tide turned. Important members of his own party, like Meg Whitman, publicly renounced the man. Unusually blunt, President Obama called on other prominent Republicans to withdraw their backing, saying in effect, You don’t condone what he says. How can you support him? The newspapers added a chorus of harsh comments.
This was the week I stopped worrying.
Like others, I imagined Trump’s downfall would surely happen, except I thought it would take place before 2016. As far back as last August he reminded me of Hitler. Not anymore. Lately he has lost his menace and is simply an out-of-control buffoon. From now on, my plan is to remain calm and watch the man as he slowly but relentlessly drowns in his own words.