Which of these Donald Trump headlines is false?
(1) Trump Mocks Vietnam War POW John McCain for Being Captured
(2) Trump Tells Iowa Dairy Farmers He Has Cows 500 Times Bigger Than Theirs
(3) Trump Hate-Tweets Magician Penn Jillette at 3 a.m.
It could be any of those because The Donald is capable of anything (for the record, it’s number 2). Here’s a wonderful excerpt from The Onion story under that headline: “Your cows are small and scrawny, and you should be embarrassed to milk them,” said Trump, adding that each of his cows was the size of “at least” a dozen Cadillacs and had “udders that’ll make your head spin.” “No one raises dairy cows as gigantic or successful as I do; everyone knows that. My cattle are winners, and you people would be lucky to have them graze here.”
SEE ALSO: Donald Trump blasts John McCain over ‘crazies’ remark: He was a hero ‘because he was captured’
The other two headlines, though, are not made up. Really. The “Republican” presidential candidate derided Sen. John McCain at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the GOP’s 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a “war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
The tycoon and the Arizona senator have been engaged in a war of words over Mr. Trump’s remarks that Mexico is sending its drug addicts and rapists to America. Mr. McCain said Mr. Trump’s comments had “fired up the crazies”; Mr. Trump, as he does, responded with an ad hominem attack, calling Mr. McCain “a dummy” who graduated at the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Mr. Trump, who received four deferments from the Vietnam War while in college and another “medical” exemption after graduating, was asked Sunday whether he owed the heavily decorated war hero an apology.
“No, not at all,” was his reply. “I will say what I want to say, and maybe that’s why I’m leading in the polls because people are tired of hearing politicians and pollsters telling the politicians exactly what to say.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another veteran, said he was “highly offended by what Donald Trump said about John McCain and his years of sacrifice in a dirty, dingy terrible prison in North Vietnam.”
Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Perry should be “forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate.”
SEE ALSO: Donald Trump says he doesn’t owe an apology to Sen. John McCain, who ‘let us down’
The other wacky headline is also true. Mr. Trump really did get in a nasty Twitter exchange with a magician, half of the duo Penn & Teller. At 3:18 a.m.
In 2012, Mr. Jillette, a former contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice,” wrote a memoir in which he said of The Donald: “We’ve chosen to make this whackjob, with the cotton candy p*ss hair and the birther sh*t, into someone we want to please.”
For some reason, three years later, Mr. Trump responded, tweeting another ad hominem attack: “I hear @pennjillette show on Broadway is terrible. Not surprised, boring guy (Penn). Without The Apprentice, show would have died long ago.”
That’s right, that’s what politics in 2016 has come to: A presidential candidate — at 3 a.m., mind you — is arguing with a C-list celebrity on Twitter.
This is, of course, the “Silly Season” — the dog days of summer when almost no regular people are paying attention to politics and those who are flirt with some oddballs. Just look up “silly season” on Wikipedia: “The period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media.”
But usually that occurs in election years. Think Howard Dean. While normal people were enjoying backyard barbecues and beach bingo, Mr. Dean was rising up the polls. Rising so fast that Newsweek magazine actually featured him on a cover with the headline: “Can anyone stop Howard Dean?”
The answer was yes. Howard Dean could stop Howard Dean, and he did so with his crazy self right after a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. “We’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!” followed by the Scream Heard Round The World.
And that’s exactly what’s going to happen to Mr. Trump. Already becoming a laughingstock, Mr. Trump will continue to be outrageous and say incredibly stupid things. Americans will (rightly) conclude that the guy is an undisciplined egomaniac and dismiss him.
But until then, it’s going to be a blast to watch. Now, we get to wake up each day and say, “I wonder what stupid thing Trump will do today?” And when he implodes, we’ll all have to get serious.
That part’s always less fun.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.