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Trump Faces Political Suicide Over His McCain Comment


Donald-Trump.jpgAs a big-league real estate developer, Donald J. Trump is at the top of the heap. But as a budding national politician, the 69-year-old New York billionaire has just shot himself in the foot.

Although he continues to lead several major polls as the Republican Party's nominee for president in 2016, Trump's mocking of Arizona Sen. John McCain's Vietnam War record last week could be his political suicide.

At what was supposed to have been a quiet Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Trump criticized McCain's efforts in the Senate to help solve the illegal immigration problem in the U.S.  McCain, likewise, has sharply rebuked Trump for his crass remarks on Mexicans entering the U.S. illegally.

"McCain's a war hero because he was captured" and spent five years in a Vietnam prisoner camp, Trump blurted out. "I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you this. He's a war hero because he was captured, OK?"

Across the country, individuals and groups pressed Trump to apologize for his comments on McCain's war record.  Trump has refused to do so. McCain, in turn, says Trump doesn't owe him personally an apology but owes one to all American war veterans.

The newest round of polls next week may show if Trump is now damaged goods or still retains his popularity among various voter groups.

Meanwhile, they're not laughing at Donald J. Trump anymore. "They" being his erstwhile colleagues in the Grand Old Party.

They are scared right down to their $800 Armani suits. Scared that Trump will bury them with his daily views on the country's problems.

At the same time, Trump is driving the national network TV Talking Heads crazy with the weekly poll numbers. They continue to look upon him as a political buffoon while they are coming up with nothing but sour grapes.

Trump stunned the entire political arena last week when he emerged as the top dog in the 15-candidate race to be named the Republican Party's nominee for President in 2016.

It all started over the long-debated issue of illegal Hispanic and Mexican immigration. Trump opposes that issue with all of his $8.7 billion purse.

Trump captured the No. 1 position in both the USA Today/Suffolk University Poll and the The Economist/YouGov.com poll. Both are considered big-league pollsters.

That's why Trump dominated the headlines.

Trump probably knows way down deep in his pocketbook that he probably will not be this party's presidential nominee, but he is having a lot of fun right now, kicking them all in the ankle with his poll numbers.

He also couldn't resist taking a swat at President Obama's handling of the nuclear deal with Iran that was announced Tuesday, July 14. In an interview on MSNBC, Trump called the Iran deal "ridiculous" and "a disgrace" to the United States.

Instead of doing that deal, the U.S. and its allies "should have doubled up the (economic) sanctions" on Iran, not lessening them or even eliminating them at some future date, Trump said.

If Obama and his nuclear negotiating team had read his book, The Art of the Deal, published in 1987, they might have struck a stronger arrangement with Iran, Trump argued.

Meanwhile, back in the Republican Party's camp, Trump continues to give them apoplexy with his poll numbers.

For example, in the USA Today/Suffolk University Poll, Trump won 17 percent of respondents' views. Jeb Bush was second with 14 percent. Trailing were Scott Walker 8 percent; Ted Cruz 6 percent; Marco Rubio 5 percent; Ben Carson 4 percent; Rand Paul 4 percent; Mike Huckabee 4 percent and Chris Christie 3 percent.

In The Economist/YouGov poll, the first choice of respondents again was Trump with a 15 percent margin. Jeb Bush and Rand Paul were tied at 11 percent. Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee all earned a 9 percent rating. Ben Carson was a 7 percent; Chris Christie, 6 percent; Ted Cruz 4 percent; Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry, both at 3 percent; Bobby Jindal, Rick Sanatorum and John Kasich, all at 2 percent; and Lindsay Graham, 1 percent.

On the flip side, a Univision poll found 71 percent of Latinos said they don't like Trump's current posturing on national and international events.

At the same time, a Fox News poll found 68 percent of GOP primary voters back Trump on his immigration stand.

But all is not totally rosy on the Trump home front, either. The same USA Today/Suffolk University poll that places Trump in the GOP nominee lead, puts him in last position among eight hypothetical hopefuls that might butt heads against Hillary Clinton for the presidency 17 months from now.

For example, Bush emerges as the strongest candidate against Clinton in a 46 percent to 42 percent ranking. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is down 6 points; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, down 8 points; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, down 9 points; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, down 10 points; and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, down 13 points.

Trump trails by 17 points. But that isn't fazing the always controversial New Yorker.

Although nationwide, Clinton, the front-running Democratic Party's nominee, remains the most popular candidate to become this country's next President, Trump couldn't resist throwing a barb her way.

"I think that the person that she doesn't want to run against is me," Trump said on MSNBC's Morning Joe show.

He will probably say it again Aug. 6 and Sept. 16. The Republican Party's first formal publicly-staged television debate is set for Aug. 6. CNN's publicly-aired debate is scheduled for Sept. 16.

Watch for Fourth-of-July-like fireworks at both events. If he is nothing else, Donald J. Trump is an entertainer, front and center.

And that's the way it is at this moment. 

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