Emotions are running high in the USA. Trump is facing currently facing a barrage of sharp criticism, and it’s not just coming from the sections of the media or politicians who have always been hostile to him. They have now been joined by those who were previously well disposed towards Trump. Trump has accused a judge of being biased simply because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. This relates to a lawsuit involving accusations of fraud against the Trump real estate university.
Trump’s assertions have unsurprisingly, and quite rightly, sparked outrage. The judge is an American, just like Trump himself. Casting aspersions simply because the judge’s parents came from Mexico is ridiculous. Republican politicians have had squirming to do during appearances on the conservative broadcaster FOX News. They have always argued against “Black Life Matters” supporters assertions that white judges and juries will always be biased against Black American defendants. And here is Trump using exactly the same line of reasoning, simply reversed, to claim that a judge of Mexican heritage can’t be anything but biased against him.
Trumps biggest weakness is that he really believes that he is invulnerable. After a string of provocative statements, none of which seemed to dent his popularity, he openly declared that he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody without losing any voters. This statement is a clear sign of hubris.
Trump used to be a master of the tactic of calculated provocation. In Michael D’Antonio’s critical Trump biography, “Never Enough. Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success”, the author wrote: “Trump was willing to say and do almost anything to satisfy his craving for attention. But he also possessed a sixth sense that kept him from going too far.” (p. 255)
It now looks like Trump has lost this “sixth sense”. He went on to develop an enormous degree of self confidence, but his series of victories during the Republican primary victories mean that this has been superseded by hubris.
Trump’s provocations have even been directed at his most vocal supporters – such as the Republican Newt Gingrich – who have turned on Trump as a result of the offense he has caused them. Trump has been stubbornly proud in his intransigence. When Trump was asked by a CBS reporter if he believed a Muslim judge would also be biased against him, Trump responded, “It’s possible. Yes”. And this is all happening despite the fact that Trump had made rapid progress in uniting such large sections of h Republican party behind his candidacy. Now he is alienating the supporters he has only just won over; and his behavior is grist to Hillary Clinton’s mill, especially as she has already devoted so much of her campaign to portraying Trump as unpredictable and out of control.
We’ll just have to wait and see how the situation develops: Either the reaction to Trump’s latest comments will force him to realize that he has to pull himself together. Otherwise, sooner or later, he’s going to dig himself into such a hole he’ll never be able to get out. In any case, Trump’s biggest enemy is not Clinton, nor is it Sanders: it is Trump himself.