Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Donald Trump’s record of being correct corresponds more with the frequency of a lunar eclipse. Rare though the event may be, it does happen, perhaps simply because he never stops talking.
When it does happen, you just have to live with that sickening feeling that you and the Donald are actually in agreement. Oddly enough for a man who has compared immigrants to racists and criminals and proposed banning Muslim immigrants, he seems to take a less ridiculous line against all things LGBTQ, although that is little comfort. What did we do to deserve a somewhat less defamatory Trump?
Here are five times when you found yourself wondering whether that gnawing in the pit of your stomach was food poisoning or your conscience rebelling at the idea of being on the same side as Trump…
1. Opposing North Carolina’s hateful law
Trump’s most recent foray into reason came on one of the heated topics today: transgender access to bathrooms. Trump took dead aim at North Carolina’s sweeping bill protecting delicate bladders and hit a bullseye. “People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” said Trump. “There has been so little trouble.” Trump’s comment was revealing because he immediately zeroed in on the economic cost of the hate measure, saying that bills like North Carolina’s were “unbelievably expensive for businesses and the country.” Needless to say, Ted Cruz is trying to make political hay out of Trump’s heresy. “Have we gone stark raving nuts?” Cruz asked a rally. You can supply the answer to that one.
2. Condemning the Iraq war as a debacle
One of the tenets of the GOP is that the Iraq war was a success that the President Obama turned into defeat. Trump committed the pinnacle of apostasy by saying the war was a colossal mistake. “The war in Iraq was a disaster,” Trump said in February. More than that, Trump argued that the Bush administration knowingly misled the American people about its stated reason for invading Iraq. “I think that people knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction,” said Trump. “I think they wanted to go in there.” Pundits predicted that Trump’s comments would kill his campaign, proving that as a class they may be the only group less often right than Trump.
3. George W. Bush didn’t keep us safe
Republicans know that George W. Bush’s presidency is a liability, but they do insist that during his terms in office, “he kept us safe.” But when Jeb Bush said exactly that in a GOP candidate’s debate, Trump went for the jugular by pointing out the obvious. “The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George W. Bush,” Trump said. “He kept us safe? That is not safe.” You can argue whether Bush should be held accountable for the intelligence failures that led up to 9/11, but it’s pretty much impossible to think about the events of that day and conclude that safety was a hallmark of the Bush administration.
4. The U.S. should be a neutral arbiter in the Israel-Palestinian conflict
Trump said earlier this year that to be an effective negotiator in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, “Let me be sort of a neutral guy.” Trump took a lot of heat for seeming to abandon the U.S.’s long-standing commitment to Israel, but he was making a fair point. Taking sides at the outset of negotiating some kind of settlement would doom peace talks before they ever start. Trump viewed the discussions as a sort of business deal: “You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault it is — I don’t think that helps.” You can argue that Trump had it all wrong, but given the dismal record of failure to date, he may actually be on to the approach that would work.
5. Whatever he calls his opponents
Lyin’ Ted. Little Marco. Has anyone outside of a schoolyard been so adept at hanging a belittling yet perfect nickname on an opponent? It’s a bully’s tactic, but that doesn’t make it any less truthful. The biggest target, of course, was Jeb Bush, whom Trump mercilessly and with deadly accuracy filleted with words. Bush was “low energy.” He’s “an embarrassment to his family.” “Jeb Bush just got contact lenses and got rid of the glasses. He wants to look cool, but it’s far too late,” Trump said in one tweet. It’s clear that Trump wanted to destroy Bush as the candidate posing the greatest threat to him, but Bush turned out to be all to eager to lend Trump a helping hand in that effort.