The Marco Rubio campaign is rolling out seven last-minute attacks on Donald Trump before Super Tuesday.
Rubio’s opposition researcher Joe Pounder, who is waging “incoming fire” on Trump, tells Rubio’s supporters in the GOP Smart Set and the conservative-movement press to focus on seven bullet points with regard to Trump.
72 hours after debate: Trump issue set: Con Artist, Trump U, foreign workers, KKK, Mussolini, spray tan, small hands
— Joe Pounder (@PounderFile) February 29, 2016
Let’s review Pounder’s seven points, one by one, and look at how the GOP Smart Set and its reporter allies are already using them to hack away at frontruner Trump:
This talking point is not really based in fact, but rather emotion, based on the idea that Trump loses his cool if he gets called a con artist.
Rubio said Sunday on Fox News that we’re about to lose “the party of Lincoln and Reagan” to a “first-rate con artist” who is “not a conservative.”
“This is part of the clown act. This is what happens when someone is caught, as Donald Trump has been, as a con artist,” Rubio said, calling Trump’s presidential campaign “the ultimate con job.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 28, 2016
The pro-Rubio PAC Conservative Solutions Project is going after Trump in Florida with new “Con Artist”-themed ads.
Trump could deflect these attacks by just staying focused and not losing his temper. Trump’s criticism of Marco Rubio’s donors and the donor class agenda backing mass amnesty has been effective.
The Rubio campaign and its allies are trying to focus attention on one of their opposition-research discoveries: Trump University, which later became known as the Trump Entrepreneur Institute, which is an online training course that is now the subject of three lawsuits in New York State alleging that it was not a real college.
Trump University never told people that it would give them degrees and the Trump campaign claims that the university had an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. Trump himself testified in 2012 that he did not oversee the teaching at the school, which is now mostly defunct. Did Trump University actually provide a service for people who paid? By most accounts, it did.
The Rubio camp and the media are trying to juice it for as much as it’s worth. Trump could brush it off or just continue going to the line about the “A” rating. The Better Business Bureau said that the school had, at times, a rating of an A+ and other ratings including D-.
In a weak attack that sounded like some kind of Catskills joke, Rubio started talking about “Polish workers” during the last Republican debate.
Rubio was trying to claim that illegal Poles helped build Trump Tower. And even more hilariously Fox News cited reports that workers were sleeping on the job. Were the Polish workers sleeping on the job? (Seriously, did Henny Youngman write this opposition research?)
Trump pinned it on a contractor.
“I hired a contractor for demolition. He had Polish workers for his force; that’s all it was. And by the way, the laws were totally different,” Trump said Sunday.
“Thirty-five years ago? That’s the best they could do?” Trump said.
Marginalized former Ku Klux Klan “Grand Wizard” David Duke, who receives press attention far in excess of his actual importance, said that he was supporting Trump.
When Trump found out about Duke’s endorsement, he immediately told The Hill, “I disavow.”
Trump then refused to take the bait again in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, saying that he doesn’t know anything about David Duke and that as a policy he’s not going to condemn any groups that he doesn’t know about until he looks into it. Immediately, the Rubio people and their GOP Smart Set and liberal media allies pounced on it, saying that Trump refuses to condemn the KKK (ignoring the fact that he already disavowed Duke’s endorsement).
Liberal publication The Daily Beast let Duke milk it a little more, giving him space for a lengthy interview.
In 2000, Trump said outright that “a Klansman, Mr. Duke” was in the Reform Party, which was “not company I wish to keep.” The media then seized on it to claim that Trump knew about Duke, and that his claim in the Tapper interview that he didn’t know Duke was a lie.
That’s right. The media, which is interviewing and featuring David Duke, is attacking Donald Trump for condemning David Duke.
This scandal is going nowhere. Trump condemned the guy. Trump disavowed the guy’s endorsement. And now protesters, presumably from the Left, are using the whole Duke thing to get attention for themselves.
Trump is seeing surging support among black voters in the South.
Trump’s Twitter account re-tweeted a quote from a Trump parody account that sent out a Benito Mussolini quote about being a lion as opposed to being a sheep.
The re-tweet galvanized the Twitter-obsessed liberal media.
“It’s certainly a very interesting quote,” Trump said in an interview with Chuck Todd, who asked him if he wanted to be associated with a fascist. “No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.”
In actuality, the quotes come from Trump’s interviews in which he stated his consistent view that the United States should not be going around removing sovereign dictators with no plan in place to prevent their countries from turning into terrorist anarchy, as Iraq and Libya did under the influence of neoconservative foreign policy.
Trump’s head-on takedown of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, which helped him to make Republican Party history in South Carolina, is popular with voters and, frankly, with anyone who lived through the disaster of America’s Iraq War. Trump must not back down on this issue.
Marco Rubio awkwardly made headlines at a recent rally, saying that Trump should “Sue whoever did that to his face.”
Does Trump, an avid golfer who has been outside quite a bit this election cycle, actually have a spray tan? The Rubio camp doesn’t seem to care.
For what it’s worth, Rubio’s extremely awkwardly-delivered “Face” line earned mockery from the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Rubio should sue whichever consultant advised him to say this. https://t.co/7bhdMJpcFv
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) February 27, 2016
This is a joke from the terminally unfunny pro-Rubio blog Washington Free Beacon, whose writers have been trying to get their Twitter lines about Trump’s hands and fingers into better-read press coverage for months. Rubio has recently added it to his rehearsed set of talking points.
As with the “Con Artist” line, this is apparently a strategy to try to bait Trump into getting angry somewhere on the campaign trail, where the liberal media can capture Trump getting angry.
But Trump, who is actually funny, could rise above these attacks from inside the Beltway by simply keeping his cool…and, of course, hitting back at Rubio.