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January 28, 2016

Trump, Fox and ‘The Veterans’

A crass political ploy to dodge the debate.

Donald Trump says he’ll be a no-show for the GOP debate tonight in Iowa. He claims it’s because he has “zero respect for Megyn Kelly,” adding “I don’t think she is very good at what she does. I think she is highly overrated.” Recall if you will, that Kelly asked Trump at an earlier debate, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs and disgusting animals.’ … How will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton that you are part of the war on women?” After the debate, Trump responded, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever.”

Actually, here’s the real reason why Trump is declining the debate: First and foremost, it’s a good strategic play. By not being present, he pits Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio against each other without getting caught in the crossfire. Second, just ahead of the Iowa caucus, he won’t have to defend his typical elitist and derogatory references, in this case comments like, “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” He won’t have to excuse his liberal “New York values,” or his own assertions about how his “views are different than if I lived in Iowa.” And third, he won’t get called out on the fact that he disgracefully played the “9/11 Card” in the last debate, using the victims of that attack as political fodder to dodge questions about his New York values.

“I like debating,” Trump claims. “I just don’t like being used.” But Trump is a master user, and once again he is playing the now-familiar “Veterans Card,” using veterans as political fodder to dodge this debate. Trump perfected that play when he threatened to skip the CNN debate unless Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, donated all the ad revenues to “the veterans.” Of course, Trump showed up for the debate, and CNN didn’t send a dime to any veterans support group. Trump merely invokes “the veterans” in a play to rally support from those of us who hold veterans in high regard. His staff quickly posted a webpage, “Donald Trump for Vets,” asking visitors to “Honor their valor. Donate now to help our Veterans.” But the proceeds go to Trump’s personal foundation, which has given more than $100,000 to the Clintons.

Oh, and if Trump showed up for the debate, perhaps Megyn Kelly could ask him why he wanted veterans, who doing their best to make ends meet as street vendors, kicked off of 5th Avenue. Trump wrote a letter to his leftist friend, former mayor Michael Bloomberg, complaining, “Whether they are veterans or not, they [the vendors] should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street. The image of New York City will suffer… I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late.”

As with his “9/11 Card” play in the last debate, his veteran card play is nothing more than a crass political charade. Regardless of whether Trump shows for the Iowa debate or not, the reality-TV billionaire will remain centerstage among his ill-informed followers, because his Trump card remains the ace of anger affirmation.

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