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How do you solve a problem like The Donald? How do you catch a clod and pin him down?
While the Trump tsunami has receded this week, GOP presidential candidates are still trying to deal with the toupeed terror. Some contenders laugh him off while others avoid mentioning him at all. But the two Texans in the race have taken opposite tacks on dealing with the reality TV star.
Ted Cruz has publicly embraced the serial Clinton contributor, praising his frank talk and unconventional style. Cruz claims to be a “big fan of Donald Trump’s” and even flew to New York City to meet with him. The candidates discussed a variety of topics in a “very friendly” meeting at Trump Tower.
— Rick Tyler (@rickwtyler) July 16, 2015
Trump hyped the meeting beforehand on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Ted Cruz called me. And I don’t know why I’m meeting him, to be honest, but I do have respect for him,” Trump said. “I respect the fact that along with a couple of others, he came out and he came out very strongly and agreed with what I said on illegal immigration. And he came out very strongly and he came out early, and I respect that. I like him.”
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry took a decidedly different approach:
Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his fundamental misunderstanding of border security. Make no mistake – border security is a federal responsibility, but when I met with President Obama last year and it became clear he would not act, I told him if he would not secure the border, Texas would. Rather than thanking Texas for stepping into a gap it shouldn’t have to fill, Mr. Trump has made clear that he believes the states should fend for themselves on border security. Not only is this wrong, it perpetuates the same failed policies that have left our southern border porous and vulnerable.
I have a message for my fellow Republicans and the independents who will be voting in the primary process: what Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism – a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.
America doesn’t need another president who pays lip service when issues of national security are at stake. America doesn’t need another president who will pass the buck on border security. We need a president who will finally act to secure the border after decades of failed leadership in Washington, D.C. And Mr. Trump has done nothing to prove that he is the president America needs.
I assume that the first draft added that Mr. Trump looks funny and his breath smells like Corn Nuts.
My preference is for candidates to just step aside while The Donald inevitably sabotages himself. But if you’re going to engage, I prefer Perry’s tactic over Cruz’s. I’m sure that Sen. Cruz would love Trump’s money and supporters once he drops from the race, but it makes this principled constitutionalist look like a suck-up. If we’re playing “who’s more conservative,” Trump isn’t worthy to scrape the muck off of Cruz’s cowboy boots. Don’t play the beta male, Ted; it’s unseemly.
Perry is setting himself up as the grown-up in the race. Along with his race speech a couple weeks back, it’s Perry, not Trump, who is the truth-teller of 2016. He knows he’s a bit of a long-shot, so he might as well say what he really thinks and roll with the consequences. By picking a public fight with Trump, Perry gets his name in the news but will get blowback from the few committed Trumpistas. Nevertheless, his swagger makes him look like the tough, no-nonsense alpha that Texans know he is.
How do you think candidates should handle The Donald? Fight, Flirt, or Flight?Published in