Given all the times Donald Trump has managed to wriggle free of potentially disastrous verbal blowups it has become absolutely impossible to gauge the damage that might be done by the president’s latest rhetorical misadventure.
On the day the House of Representatives impeached him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Trump stood before campaign rally crowd in Battle Creek, Mich., and implied that the late legendary congressman John Dingell might be “looking up” from hell.
The outrage was immediate. It was fierce. It came from both sides of the aisle.
Will this form of rhetorical nonsense spell the end for Trump? It should. Then again, so should any number of previous verbal disasters.
He denigrated the heroism exhibited by the late John McCain during the Vietnam War; he criticized a Gold Star couple for their speech at the Democratic National Convention; he was heard telling a TV interviewer how he grabs women by their “pu***” because … he can; he mocked a New York Times reporter’s physical ailment.
Through it all, Trump survived. His candidacy kept on track. He told the world that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and not lose any support. We laughed and groaned at the same time. It turns out he might have been (more or less) correct!
How in the world does this guy get away with this kind of thing?
Count me as one of those Americans who just cannot figure it out. The things he says would doom any other candidate or public officeholder.
And I haven’t even mentioned the incessant lying. Oh, wait. I just did.
The John Dingell matter speaks directly to the cruelty that frequently reveals itself from this individual. And that makes me wonder: Is there a limit to the cruel language that this man’s core supporters will endure?