Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Donald Trump asked Ghazala Khan to speak, so she did. I doubt that Donald likes the result, since it’s devastating for him.

Trump has demonstrated an astounding capability to overcome gaffes and outrages that would sink any other candidate for office, but this blow-up is truly isolating for him because there’s literally no one in the Republican Party who is going to stick their neck out to defend attacking a Gold Star mother and father.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t have a point about being viciously attacked, but he instigated the attack by scapegoating Muslims over and over again. And, while that’s the wrong thing to do, his basic position of curtailing or cutting off Muslim immigration until we have a better screening process in place is something that enjoys a lot of support. People are afraid when they see attacks like the ones in Paris and Nice, and they think it’s common sense to take serious precautions about who we let come into our country. But you can have that conversation in a respectful and adult way, and reach out to the other party to initiate a conversation about how some more thorough screening might be done in a way that is consistent with the Constitution and our values.

Trump doesn’t do any of that. He just maligns Muslims and increases people’s anxiety and dislike for them. And he does it for transparent political advantage in a way that brings out the worst in people.

So, he took an issue where he was probably getting some mileage politically and he waddled right into the thresher blades.

He can complain that he was attacked and should have the right to respond, but the suicidal nature of his response is his fault, and his fault alone.

He keeps pushing any allies he might have away, and it’s getting to the point that pretty much every candidate for office in the fall, regardless of party, is going to disown him.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at