Better late than never, goes the adage. Yes, I guess if you’re going to run for president of the United States, for yet a third time, maybe, just maybe, you should start conducting your affairs the way real statesmen and women conduct them from the outset. The Associated Press is reporting that last week’s disastrous dinner at Mar-a-Lago, where Trump hosted neo-Nazis, will not repeat itself.
In an acknowledgment of the severity of the backlash and an effort to prevent a repeat, Trump’s campaign is putting new protocols in place to ensure that those who meet with him are approved and fully vetted, according to people familiar with the plans who requested anonymity to share internal strategy. The changes will include expediting a system, borrowed from Trump’s White House, in which a senior campaign official will be present with him at all times, according to one of the people. […]
Trump has repeatedly said he did not know until after the fact that he had had dinner with Nick Fuentes, the far-right activist who has used his online platform to spew antisemitic and white nationalist rhetoric. Fuentes arrived by car with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and was waved into the club by security, even though only Ye had been on the security list, according to one of the people present and others briefed on the events. (Fuentes apparently did not show his ID and the car’s driver, a frequent guest at the club, got in using a credit card after misplacing her license.) […]
Some aides had advised Trump against meeting with Ye, who has made his own antisemitic comments. But the two have a longstanding relationship and Trump rebuffed the advice. They were supposed to meet one-on-one in the club’s library, but Trump, eager to show off his celebrity guest to his paying club members, decided to divert the group to the club’s main patio dining area. Fuentes joined the dinner at Ye’s invitation.
And we have since learned that Fuentes and Milo Yiannopoulos were there to embarrass Trump.
He did it to himself. Trump can’t afford any more screw ups like this. There is no other candidate for any high office, let alone president, who doesn’t know who s/he’s sitting down to dinner with publicly and what the ramifications of a wrong move could be. This isn’t the old days, with Trump as the iconoclast. He’s the icon now, supposedly. The MAGA icon at least.
…the political landscape is fundamentally different now. Trump is no longer a political outsider or newcomer. He’s a member of a most elite circle — the former presidents club — and a seasoned politician mounting what is now his third campaign for the office. And after nearly eight years of his dominating the news cycle, many in his party and the voting public are tired of the constant drama and chaos.
“If you have people who are constantly creating distractions and taking you off message and forcing people to answer questions like the ones that you’re asking, that’s not a good thing,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. […]
Trump’s team had planned to wait until the new year to begin building out a more robust and regimented campaign operation. But while no travel has been planned through the end of the year, aides are stepping up their efforts to ensure the people he meets with have been screened and that the former president is staffed by a rotating set of campaign aides — something that had not been expected to begin until January.
In the aftermath of the dinner meeting, several GOP senators had said those responsible for the meeting should be fired. Longtime allies not involved in the campaign questioned how Fuentes was able to access the club and why nobody seemed aware of his presence or warned Trump against meeting with him.
So far, Trump has refused to condemn the views of either visitor, despite growing condemnation from his party, including calls for an apology from his former Vice President Mike Pence.
I think I’ll send a copy of this AP article over to Kevin McCarthy’s office. I know that if they’re wrong and in fact, Trump condemned Fuentes four times already, they will want to hear the details so that they can get the story right. Meanwhile, we have to decide who to believe, McCarthy or the Associated Press.
I’m going to venture a guess that Mar-a-Lago is not a fun place to work these days. The campaign barely was launched, then this major scandal. And do not forget, December 6 should be another jolt in Trump world if Herschel Walker loses, as expected.
Trump needs to tread the straight and narrow now, and that’s not his style. He has no discipline. This is going to be torture for him, having to do things by the book. Frankly, I’m wondering if he’ll stay in the race.