God smiled on the American electorate Saturday and worked a little extra oil into Donald Trump's jaw, not that Trump needed it.
The Sen. John McCain's-not-a-hero comment, or something like it, was almost certainly coming. The Almighty just hastened it along to save everyone time.
That's how I see it anyway.
Trump, who denigrated McCain and other prisoners of war during a conversation with Republican pollster Frank Luntz, is now trying to act as if what he said isn't a big deal. But even he has to know it is. Because what he did was worse than what he said. He gave the American public a glimpse at a blackness in his soul. Once you see something like that, it's hard to see anything else.
McCain spent more than five hellish years in North Vietnamese prisons, where he was repeatedly tortured. What kind of person depreciates thati
Asked whether he wanted an apology from Trump, McCain said on "Morning Joe" yesterday that he didn't think so. "But," he said, "I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving our country."
You almost have to laugh that it was McCain who caused Trump to beach himself, though. The Arizona senator may be the least popular Republican among the anti-immigration-reform electorate that's been supporting Trump. But it's a group of voters that honors service and patriotism above all things, and Trump pressed the exact wrong button.
"Whatever you do, Mr. Trump, don't pull that lever," you can almost hear his advisers warn.
Trump isn't someone to apologize, and he's trying to stay on the offense now. He knows no other way. Late Sunday he published an opinion piece in USA Today that stuck him even tighter to the McCain tar baby. Trump accuses McCain of selling out American veterans in the piece, when supporting veterans causes may be McCain's greatest strength.
At the same time, Trump is facing increased media scrutiny about his multiple military deferments during the Vietnam War. Trump cited bone spurs as the cause over the weekend, but it's the first time he's ever mentioned having had the condition, and no supporting documentation has been provided yet. Trump the showman might have been able to wait out the media in providing backup for his assertion, but presidential candidate Trump is going to have to account for his claim.
Something tells me this is going to be a very long week for Trump, and an equally entertaining one for his detractors. Unless he pivots into a major mea culpa -- can anyone imagine Trump doing that -- he's going to keep digging. God knows what he'll say next.
Trump was becoming a major distraction for the Republican primary field. He was sucking up all the oxygen in the room and freezing second-tier candidates in place. All that has changed now. Even if The Donald makes the August Republican primary debate, he'll be a ship dead in the water for all to fire upon.
They won't be taking prisoners.