- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I honestly don’t know what Donald Trump is doing. Dominating the news cycle helped him win the Republican primary, but the chaos he created Tuesday has left my head spinning.

First there was the crying baby he supposedly threw out at his Virginia rally. That seemed like stupid, media hype, so I ignored it.

Then he gave The Washington Post an exclusive interview — after he’s banned the paper from covering his rallies for their bias — and told them “I’m not quite there yet,” in endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary bid in Wisconsin.

The language was very similar to the words Mr. Ryan used when he initially declined to endorse Mr. Trump after he won the GOP primary. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Trump need each other to win the presidency and enact Republican solutions in Congress. Mr. Trump’s comment was petty, and gave the press more ammo to attack him with. He needed to rise above, but declined.

Lastly, Mr. Trump went on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show and continued to defend himself against the attacks lodged at him from a Muslim Gold Star family. This story has been generating negative headlines since the speech was delivered last week at the Democratic National Convention. Mr. Trump gave it more oxygen when it needed to be extinguished.

If you were putting a paper together Tuesday night, which negative story to lead with? The Washington Post and New York Times editors must be having a field day. They don’t need to concentrate on the economy, dig into Hillary Clinton’s past or focus on her lies. Mr. Trump gives them enough immediate, easy comments in a 24-hour period to fill their papers.

The negative headlines may not undercut Mr. Trump’s loyal supporters — as we have reported — but that doesn’t matter. He needs to expand his base, he’s not running in the Republican primary with 16 other candidates where 30 percent of the vote is sufficient anymore. He needs to win those white, married women and college-educated males, who voted for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“This is not rational behavior at all,” Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said Wednesday of Mr. Trump’s actions. “It’s as if he’s trying to blow himself up.”

I have to agree. And it pains me, it really does.

If Mr. Trump were to just sail out into the ocean, or go on a vacation for a few weeks — where there wasn’t any internet connection — he could possibly win this election. Because Mrs. Clinton is that bad. She’s a terrible candidate who’s been in public service for the past quarter-century — everybody knows her and more than half of America doesn’t like her.

But, with Mr. Trump in the race, she doesn’t have to do anything. She just has to go dark, not giving any interviews or press conferences, and let Mr. Trump blow himself up.

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