Since Donald Trump took that now famous golden escalator ride in Trump Tower back in 2015 to declare that he was running for president, I have always thought one thing in the back of my mind: the man is going to self-destruct and end his political career before it begins.
It was what many of my GOP colleagues and I thought during the 2016 campaign.
We used to say it all the time during the Ted Cruz campaign and on conference calls.
He isn’t going to win.
We prayed that GOP voters really didn’t want this vile man to be president.
At least, that is what we told ourselves.
And, I guess, for any other person, the wild and crazy stuff he has done would have already done him in.
However, we don’t live in normal times anymore. Donald Trump is the Kim Kardashian of U.S. politics.
I honestly thought he was all done when he went wild on Senator John McCain very early on during the campaign. Remember this from the campaign: “He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
I thought that should have been the end of Donald Trump right then and there. Ten years prior, it would have been.
But no way. I was completely wrong.
And since then, Donald Trump has made crazy statement after crazy statement.
The thing is, over time, many in the GOP got used to the comments. I know I did.
I would say to people in D.C. that you can’t really ever consider what Trump says as what he really thinks – you have to look at the policies and what he actually does. Never take Trump’s shocking comments at face value, as he is just trying to get attention. MAGA won’t ever turn on him over them. People don’t seem to care. The GOP doesn’t seem to care.
But, I have to say, I do think I am going to change my tune a little on this opinion.
I think the American people and GOP votes are getting tired of Trump’s crazy comments. I think they get what he is trying to do: dominate the news cycle with shocking comments to stay in the press and stay relevant, as the political march between now and 2024 will be a long one.
And my guess is he will keep making more and more crazy comments as he declared for 2024 so early that now he needs to ensure he stays as high in the polls as he can.
I think Trump will use his comments like political sniper fire, trying to take out each of his foes one by one as they declare for the GOP nomination.
However, I do think Trump will run out of verbal bullets at some point, and the American people will get sick of it all – the polls are starting to suggest as much in some respects.
I think, in the end, it will be Donald Trump’s big mouth that ends up destroying him. At some point, he will say something so vile that it will be the end.
However, I have been wrong before. As Trump likes to say himself, let’s see what happens. Indeed, we will.
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Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive and serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz, and in a similar task force in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also has a background in defense journalism, having served as Editor-In-Chief at The Diplomat and Executive Editor for the National Interest.