On Monday, several of Donald Trump‘s campaign staffers were involved in a minor car accident in New York City. That was nothing compared to the train wreck that is the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, and the events of the previous days. Here are some of the many things that have gone wrong for the Trump campaign and the Republican Party in just the past week:
–When news leaked last Thursday that Trump had chosen Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, Trump reportedly had a panic attack at midnight and was calling around asking aides if he could change his mind. Reasons for Trump’s panic range from being unhappy about the leak, to not wanting to upset Chris Christie, who was considered all along to be on Trump’s running mate short list.
–As soon as the Trump/Pence campaign logo was revealed, it was relentlessly mocked as being sexually or scatalogically suggestive (and even worse for Republicans, suggestive of gay sex), as well as reminiscent of white nationalist groups. Within a couple of days, the logo was scrubbed from the Trump/Pence campaign website and everywhere else.
–The first introduction of Trump and Pence, a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday night, had the two men sitting in what appeared to be gold thrones, which some likened to Saddam Hussein‘s favorite chairs. It was not exactly a “men of the people” moment.
–The stage management of the Republican National Convention has been poor, as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus opened the convention on Monday to a nearly empty arena, and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who is popular among the GOP base, was shunted off to an 11:30 p.m. time slot on Monday night, again speaking to a sparse crowd.
—Chaos erupted at the convention on Monday, as conservative “Never Trump” members of the Colorado and Iowa delegations walked out over a voice vote rules dispute. A similar mess occurred on Tuesday, as Alaska delegation members noisily contested the recording of their votes. In both cases, the delegates reportedly were Ted Cruz supporters.
–Numerous high-profile Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Dean Heller and Ohio Governor John Kasich (see below) are staying away from the convention this year. Some, including former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, as well as Jeb Bush and Willard Mitt Romney, say they won’t vote for Trump. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida only submitted a video. Instead, 80s has-been Scott Baio showed up to speak at the RNC, and then got into hot water over his hateful tweets, leaving some people wondering whether the embarrassing 2012 RNC appearance by Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair doesn’t fare better by comparison.
–Senator Ted Cruz did speak, but blew up the convention by refusing to endorse Donald Trump. That’s a huge no-no for a party convention in terms of both basic competence and party unity. Cruz, the second-place finisher to Trump in the Republican Party presidential primaries, was booed by some convention goers as a result, and he and his wife Heidi were then reportedly threatened to the point of needing special protection to leave.
–The Melania Trump plagiarism fiasco could fill an entire book chapter. Essentially, what we know thus far is that: (1) Melania’s speech on Monday night clearly plagiarized portions of Michelle Obama‘s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech; (2) Melania insisted that she wrote the speech herself, with “as little help as possible;” (3) Trump campaign officials such as Campaign Manager Paul Manafort spent all day Tuesday denying that there was any plagiarism; (4) The Trump campaign finally said on Wednesday that “Meredith McIver,” who supposedly writes for the “Trump Organization” but not the campaign, admitted and apologized for putting the plagiarized passages in Melania’s speech, based on language from Melania herself. “McIver” allegedly offered to resign but has not done so. Adding to the mystery was that “Meredith McIver” has a very recently created and sparse social media profile, and photos of herself with Trump and others that appear Photoshopped. Moreover, if “McIver” is employed by the Trump companies and not the campaign, it is probably a campaign finance law violation to have her write Melania’s campaign speeches.
–Trump got into yet another public fight, with John Kasich, who is the governor of Ohio, which happens to be not only the home state for the RNC, but also arguably the most crucial state for Republicans in the presidential election.
–Trump had time for even another public battle, this one with Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.” Schwartz, who spent a lot of time with Trump to write the book, now says that Trump is “impulsive and self-centered,” has no attention span, and is otherwise unfit to be president.
–On Wednesday, in another apparently ill-thought out statement, Donald Trump said that, if he were president, he might not defend America’s NATO allies if they were attacked by Russia, as the NATO treaty provides and as has been U.S. policy for decades. This statement by Trump has caused concern around the world.
There were too many more failures to enumerate. And in addition to all of this, Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes resigned today after being hit with sexual harassment claims by female Fox employees, including Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Women who claim to have been harassed or have seen harassment by Ailes are starting to come forward in succession, as happened with Bill Cosby. And let’s not forget that Donald Trump still refuses to provide his tax returns, leading people to think he is hiding something serious.
Americans look closely at the pre-election political party conventions, because it gives voters a good idea of how well each candidate is able to run things. Thus far, the is reason to conclude that the Trump campaign is utterly incompetent and dishonest, and that the deeply divided Republican Party is in a heap of trouble.
Photo by H. Michael Karshis, used under Creative Commons license. https://is.gd/jOiRWq