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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Trump Boycotts Debate -- "I'll Take My Ball and Go Home"

I understand the premises. Politicians are largely partisan, and many are corrupt. The government is broken. But, the conclusion that follows -- there must be significant changes in the ruling class -- is not going to happen if Donald Trump is elected. He is not presidential material.

Trump supporters are conservatives and disaffected moderates who no longer strictly identify with either party. They are fed up with political correctness and policies that stifle economic growth. We all want a government that is more representative of the people -- all people. Donald Trump is not a leader who will serve that vision because he is a dealer, not a standup statesman.

In the game of politics, not only does Donald Trump want to control the ball, but also he wants to own it. If things don't go his way, he resorts to name calling, scapegoating, and denouncing whoever challenges his participation. As a last resort to appeasing his own selfish interests, he simply takes his ball and walks off out of the arena.

Trump's actions speak as loud as his reckless, abusive mouth ...

Trump has repeatedly suggested he might skip this week's GOP debate on Fox News unless he is confident Megyn Kelly would treat him fairly. I can hear some already mouthing "poor baby."

And now, the word is that Trump is going to boycott the debate, an event in which candidates have the opportunity to make their closing arguments before voting begins in Monday's Iowa caucuses. His campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in a pair of television interviews Wednesday, January 27, that Trump, a billionaire businessman, "knows when to walk away from a bad deal."

"They think they can toy with Mr. Trump," Lewandowski said of Fox News on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Mr. Trump doesn't play games." He said the decision shows Trump is a leader who "understands when a bad deal is in front of him and is ready to walk away from a bad deal, something that this country should be able to do."

Doesn't play games? Walk away from scrutiny as a presidential candidate? Bad deal? How outrageous. In a move that is so politically conceived and stinks of sour gamesmanship, Donald Trump betrays his own self-aggrandizing convictions. What kind of candidate walks away from situations that simply don't appeal to his liking? Call it what it is -- "the same good old boy tactics" -- but with Trump, add the adjectives egomaniacal and spoiled. He talks the talk but where is his presidential "walk"?

This boycott stems from a feud with Fox News host and scheduled debate moderator Megyn Kelly. In the first Republican primary debate, Kelly took Trump to task over derogatory statements he'd made in the past aimed at women. Acting in his usual offensive manner, Trump ridiculed the moderator and called her a "lightweight" and biased. Now, he has decided he simply won't subject himself to scrutiny unless reporters play on his terms.

After the first debate, Trump insinuated that Kelly treated him unfairly because she was menstruating. "She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions," Trump told CNN after the August debate. "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." Of course, Trump predictably denied referring to menstruation.

This is not the first time Trump has threatened to skip debates. He has used this juvenile threat against the media in the past but has yet to follow through until now. In addition to his distaste for Kelly, Trump is apparently angry about statements from Fox saying the leaders of Iran and Russia "both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president" and that "Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings."

(Jill Colvin. "Trump not backing down from Fox debate boycott."
Associated Press. January 27, 2016.)

And this man (and evidently legions of other supporters) wants to be the leader of the free world? What kind of president would act with so much self-centered, bad intent because of inquiry about things he has said and policies he has supported?

Acting this way about the debate may be a major political blunder for Donald Trump. He claims he can face down China, Iran and the Islamic State. Now, he can't "stand up" at a debate? How weak is this? Marc Thiessen, of The New York Times, says Trump often dishes out criticism of weakness in others. Thiessen explains ...

"In October, a few months after Black Lives Matter protesters took the microphone from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at a campaign rally, Trump mocked Sanders mercilessly and said it 'showed such weakness.' He even put up a Web ad that asked how Sanders could fight the Islamic State if he could not handle Black Lives Matter protesters."

(Marc A. Thiessen. "Skipping Fox debate is Trump’s first major misstep." 
The New York Times.

Thiessen says by handing the debate stage to Ted Cruz and essentially giving his opponent free airtime in which to attack Trump without opposition, Trump is assuming his boycott will not affect a winning outcome. This is a calculated, but admittedly questionable move. Although Trump’s staunch supporters will likely applaud his decision to skip the debate, undecided voters might not see it that way.

For a candidate so confident in his guts and his glory, Donald Trump is too easily intimidated by scrutiny. This is the statement in response to the boycott released by Fox News:

"As many of our viewers know, FOX News is hosting a sanctioned debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday night, three days before the first votes of the 2016 election are cast in the Iowa Caucus. Donald Trump is refusing to debate seven of his fellow presidential candidates on stage that night, which is near unprecedented.

"We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly.

"In a call on Saturday with a FOX News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees.

"Trump is still welcome at Thursday night’s debate and will be treated fairly, just as he has been during his 132 appearances on FOX News & FOX Business, but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions."

("Full statement on Trump declining to participate in Fox News/Google Debate."
Fox News. January 27, 2016.)

To close, the turncoat inclinations of Donald Trump are so very evident. In a 2011 interview about a debate Trump was trying to host with Newsmax, he criticized Republican candidates who refused to attend a forum he tried to put together. He said then ...

"We're not seeing a lot of courage."

Guess who was moderating? Yep, Megyn Kelly. And, in 2011, Trump praised her moderating skills. 

Kelly, at the time, asked him, “Do you really think you’re a better moderator than I am?”

Trump replied, “No. I could never beat you. That wouldn’t even be close. That would be no contest.”
He added, “You have done a great job, by the way. And I mean it.”

("Trump in 2011: Rips candidates skipping debate, praises Megyn Kelly.
Fox News. January 27, 2016.)

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