Despite his big win in New York on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has had a pretty bad week. But will it matter? It should — and just might.
During an NBC "Today" show town hall Thursday, the host read a question from Twitter concerning Trump's views on LGBT issues and how he plans to be inclusive as president. "Speak about North Carolina bathroom law in particular."
Trump responded: "I had a feeling that question was going to come up, I will tell you. Well, look, North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they're paying a big price, and there's a lot of problems. ... North Carolina, what they're going through, with all of the business that's leaving and all of the strife — and that's on both sides — you leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble."
In response to a follow-up question, Trump said he would not support putting new bathrooms in Trump Tower. "I think that would be discriminatory in a certain way."
These politically correct answers from the alleged king of political incorrectness have to be music to the ears of Democrats — not only those far left enough to agree with Trump's view but all others because they know this will alienate Trump from the tons of Republican voters who recognize such lunacy. Perhaps Trump should have been more forthcoming about his true New York liberal values.
Before you buy into Trump's inevitable walk-back of this disaster, remember how he began his answer: that he had anticipated the question. I'm not sure whether that should be more damning than if his answer had been purely spontaneous, revealing his true feelings apart from political calculation, but it's greatly troubling either way.
Trump says he is concerned about the strife and "the economic punishment (North Carolina is) taking." But it seems he also sees the issue from the perspective of adult men who want to use little girls' bathrooms. Has he even considered this from the perspective of the parents of these girls and all other sane people who don't feel comfortable sharing bathrooms with people of the opposite gender?
Who thinks like this, other than a candidate pandering to new constituencies? Who actually believes that prohibiting grown men from using little girls' bathrooms is discriminatory against the transgender community rather than against the 99 percent of people who have always had the comfort of going to public restrooms without the fear that people of the opposite gender could invade their privacy? Isn't protecting public safety one of government's chief duties?
It will be interesting to see how Trump's infinitely forgiving fans explain this one away or whether they'll even bother to try. I get it; all they think about is unfair trade and "the wall," so maybe they'll explain why Trump wants to tear down public bathroom walls.
Also on Thursday, Trump said he would support raising taxes on the rich, which should concern all economic conservatives who support reducing taxes across the board to stimulate robust economic growth. It should also concern Trump's defenders who believed he was standing by the tax plan posted on his website, which includes a cut to the top rate, from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.
Those convinced that Trump has few ideological moorings and an inclination toward liberal positions are vindicated — again. No matter what written plans Trump has proposed for use in his campaign, his instincts are to support the liberal position on many issues. And for those who buy that he's made a strong conversion from his previous liberal ways, you should know that there has apparently been no change in Trump's views about taxes since 1991, when he testified as a Democratic expert witness and described Ronald Reagan's tax cuts as "catastrophic."
Those who still believe in the sincerity of Trump's conversion to conservatism should be aware of the other bombshell that exploded this week in Camp Trump, which may be the most troubling of all.
In a private meeting aimed at reassuring concerned GOP leaders about Trump's positions and electability in a general election, Trump's "chief lieutenants" reportedly told them that Trump has been "projecting an image" up to this point in the primary season and "the part that he's been playing is evolving" in a way that will make him more palatable to general election voters. How utterly comforting.
Trump's new campaign guru, Paul Manafort, reportedly told Republican National Committee members that Trump has two personalities — a private one and another one when he's onstage. "When he's out on the stage, when he's talking about the kinds of things he's talking about on the stump, he's projecting an image that's for that purpose. You'll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You'll see a real different guy."
So his own campaign chief just comes right out and says Trump has been playing a role — pretending to be someone he's not? This is just incredible stuff, folks.
For the life of me, I don't understand how Trump's most ardent supporters can feel comfortable relying on his always-shifting promises — even on immigration. Those who still feel comfortable about his candidacy baffle me.
Yes, Trump won his liberal home state resoundingly, but looking back, this could be one of his worst weeks of the campaign.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Intel Free Press