By George! After numerous attempts to provoke President Trump, George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, managed to elicit a series of tweets denouncing him as, among other things, ‘Moonface’. In lavishing this attention on Conway, Trump has done him an enormous favor, creating a controversy and publicity where there was none.
This fresh objurgatory feat from Trump was triggered by a new advertisement sponsored by the Lincoln Project, a consortium formed by NeverTrumpers to help torpedo his reelection bid, that declared it is ‘Mourning in America’, a riff on the ‘Morning in America’ ad that ran in 1984 when Ronald Reagan crushed former Vice President Walter Mondale. These internal conservative dissidents have been targeting Trump for years, but their ad is the first time that they really seem to have gotten to him. The ad states, ‘Under the leadership of Donald Trump our country is weaker, sicker and poorer. Americans are asking, “if we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?”’
The notion that it’s curtains for Trump’s America is, of course, anathema to him. His response is to anathematize Conway. Trump, a Johnny-come-lately to the GOP, seems to be convinced that he is the high priest of doctrinal purity. Trump declared on Monday, ‘A group of RINO Republicans who failed badly 12 years ago, then again 8 years ago, and then got BADLY beaten by me, a political first timer, 4 years ago, have copied (no imagination) the concept of an ad from Ronald Reagan, “Morning in America”, doing everything possible to get even for all of their many failures.’ On Tuesday, he went to one of his old standbys to decry Conway, deeming him a ‘stone-cold loser’. The question that Trump’s antics raise is very basic: if the NeverTrumpers are so insignificant, why is he so fixated on them?
Perhaps what nettles Trump is that his Conway is borrowing one of the president’s favorite tactics, which is that the best defense is a good offense. He’s declared on Twitter that the battle is now joined. He tweeted, ‘So I have another idea for an ad. Orangeface isn’t going to like it.’ Probably not. But there isn’t much that Trump, who is reduced to proclaiming that he, and he alone, can revive the once-proud American economy, has to brag about. The news that he’s disbanding his coronavirus task force is further evidence that he wants to act as though it’s business as usual. The coronavirus response led by favored son-in-law Jared Kushner looks to be a mess as well. The Washington Post reports that he’s relied on volunteers from consulting and private equity firms. These bunglers have no experience ‘in the tasks to which they were assigned, exacerbating chronic problems in obtaining supplies for hospitals and other needs.’
At the same time, Trump’s vaunted distraction techniques are faltering. He’s pretty much exhausted his old bag of tricks — attacking immigrants, government officials, sports stars, China and so forth. It’s the same old, same old. None of his protestations appear to be helping boost his poll numbers which are even tanking in reliably red states such as Texas, where Biden is tied with him, and Montana, where Biden is five points behind. Even Trump’s Lincoln Memorial appearance had an inadvertently absurd cast to it. His virtual town hall was supposed to display him as a great president, but it ended up highlighting his own ineptitude and megalomania in the brooding shadow of one of America’s greatest presidents.