Donald Trump’s campaign announced Saturday evening that the candidate would soon deliver a nine-sentence critique of comments Hillary Clinton made months ago about many of the millennials supporting her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. It was an attempt to latch onto a new headline in hopes of finally escaping the controversies that had consumed his week.
It didn’t work.
It took Trump nearly 25 minutes to read the brief statement because he kept going off on one angry tangent after another — ignoring his teleprompters and accusing Clinton of not being “loyal” to her husband, imitating her buckling at a memorial service last month, suggesting that she is “crazy” and saying she should be in prison. He urged his mostly white crowd of supporters to go to polling places in “certain areas” on Election Day to “watch” the voters there. He also repeatedly complained about having a “bum mic” at the first presidential debate and wondered if he should have done another season of “The Apprentice.”
Halfway through the statement, Trump took a nearly 20-minute-long break to cover a range of topics, including these:
— He reflected on how his movement has “the smartest people… the sharpest people… the most amazing people.” He said the pundits — “most of them aren’t worth the ground they’re standing on, some of that ground could be fairly wealthy ground” — have never seen a phenomenon like this.
— He asked that the crowd if they are proud of President Obama, and they answered with a booming: “No!”
— He told the crowd to get a group of friends together on Election Day, vote and then go to “certain areas” and “watch” the voters there. “I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about,” Trump said. “So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason.”
— He declared that he won Monday night’s debate even though he had a “bum mic.” He asked the crowd if they think that “maybe that was done on purpose.” They cheered.
— He recounted how the “dopes at CNN” and “phony pundits” refused to acknowledge how well he was doing during the primaries. “Then we started getting 52 percent, 58 percent, 66 percent, 78 percent, 82 percent,” Trump said, not making clear what those numbers mean. “And they just didn’t understand what was going on.”
— He said Clinton could not fight bad trade deals or Russian President Vladimir Putin because “she can’t make it 15 feet to her car,” alluding to video that showed Clinton buckling as she unexpectedly left a 9/11 memorial service early. Her doctor later said she had pneumonia. Trump then imitated Clinton by flailing his arms and jostling side to side. He walked unsteadily away from the podium as if he were about to fall over. “Folks, we need stamina,” Trump said. “We need energy.”
— He claimed that he has a “winning temperament” while Clinton has “bad temperament.” Trump continued: “She could be crazy. She could actually be crazy.”
This is my favorite part:
“You’re unsuspecting,” Trump said. “Right now, you say to your wife: ‘Let’s go to a movie after Trump.’ But you won’t do that because you’ll be so high and so excited that no movie is going to satisfy you. Okay? No movie. You know why? Honestly? Because they don’t make movies like they used to — is that right?”
But don’t forget the carnival-barker messianism:
“You have 38 days to make every dream you ever dreamed for your country come true,” Trump said. “Do not let this opportunity slip away or be wasted. You will never ever have this chance again. Not going to happen again… You have one magnificent chance.”
Whether you’re for or against Trump, please, I beg you, read the whole thing. It’s hard to believe this is happening. He could not stay focused enough to read a nine-sentence critique.
If Hillary Clinton wins this thing, and that upsets you (as it will me), remember that one of the most unpopular politicians in America won the presidency in part because Donald Trump spent the last few weeks of the campaign, tweeting about beauty-queen sex tapes, griping about how they don’t make movies like they used to, and generally babbling like a drunken fool.