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Monday, July 6, 2015

Divide and Conquer

From my NBC First Read email newsletter - with the subject "How Donald Trump is Splitting the 2016 GOP Field" - comes almost exactly what I just wrote about the other day. Notice what Ted Cruz said in the bold/italics I added to what he said.

Trumped: GOP field divided over Trump's controversial comments
Any day the political conversation in the 2016 presidential race is about Donald Trump isn't a good day for the Republican Party. Translation: The GOP has had a rough last few weeks. Indeed, it's now been nearly three weeks since Trump, during his presidential announcement, referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" bringing drugs and crime into the United States. And the rest of the Republican field finally started responding to those comments over the long July 4 holiday.
  • Here was Ted Cruz on "Meet the Press" defending Trump in a way. "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. The Washington cartel doesn't want to address that... He has a colorful way of speaking. It's not the way I speak. But I'm not gonna engage in the media's game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans."
  • On other hand, here was Rick Perry criticizing him on ABC: "I've said very clearly that Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party. I was offended by his remarks."
  • Here was Chris Christie: "The comments were inappropriate and they have no place in the race."
  • And Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican, was maybe the most forceful: "To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. We're going to win when we're hopeful and optimistic and big and broad rather than 'Arr, grr' angry all the time."
Oh, and here was Trump firing back at Jeb Bush, per NBC's Kelly O'Donnell: "Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people. Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn't understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come out 'out of love.'"

Meanwhile, Fox News spins the story differently:

Donald Trump’s critical remarks on immigrants and border security continue to stir the political pot. Over the weekend, Trump brought in the death of Kathryn Steinle, the young woman gunned down by an undocumented worker in San Francisco, to prove his point. But most GOP rivals baulked. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., said, “To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. Trump is wrong on this.” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., added Trump’s comments were, “offensive and inaccurate.” There is understandable cringing within the party, but candidates like Bush and Rubio are also able to use Trump as the bogie man. While advocating secure borders, rivals can increase their appeal to Hispanic voters, pushing their own immigration policy as less extreme. Although Trump fired blistering retorts at Bush and Rubio, and his overall poll numbers are high, his rhetoric may simply result in making him increasingly an outlier and benefit his opponents.

“Hispanics in America and Hispanics in Texas, from the Alamo to Afghanistan, have been extraordinary people, citizens of our country and of our state. They have served nobly.” – Former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, on ABC.

“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on [immigration]. He has a colorful way of speaking. It’s not the way I speak, but I’m not going to engage in the media’s game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans. I’m just not going to do it.” – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on NBC.

How to confront the Trump - Wash Ex’s David Drucker looks at how the GOP plans to weather the Trump storm in the early campaign cycle. Can they positively distinguish themselves? Or will they be swallowed by his tornado rhetoric? Read here.

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