How Donald Trump Took the Bait

4 minute read

If you only read one thing: It was an obvious trap, but “counterpuncher” Donald Trump couldn’t help but take the bait. The moving speech by Gold Star father Khizr Khan about his fallen son, Capt. Humayun Khan instantly became one of the most memorable moments of the Democratic National Convention, as the grieving father called his son the “best of America” and criticized Trump for trying to keep Muslims like him out of the country, his wife standing just alongside. Trump couldn’t resist his impulse to fight back, swiping at the parents of a fallen soldier in personal terms. Suggesting that Ghazala Khan “wasn’t allowed to have anything to say” because of their faith, Trump was either callous toward a parent who said after that she can hardly be in the same room as photos of her dead son, or was dog-whistling toward those with anti-Muslim prejudice. Trump defended his outburst by arguing that Khan made himself a target by delivering a political speech at the DNC, which he certainly did. But what Trump missed was that it’s never a good move politically, and perhaps morally, to attack those who’ve made that sacrifice. In a statement late Saturday, Trump argued Khan had no right to attack him or to suggest he’d never read the Constitution—seemingly neglecting the First Amendment which provides just that right. Trump briefly tried to clean up his comments, by arguing that the true issue of the campaign was not the Khans, but rather radical Islamic terror. But it was too little, too late. Republicans have spent the last three days backing away from Trump’s comments, yet again, as a familiar playbook of condemnation and distancing plays itself out once again.

Trump is also facing new questions about his foreign policy knowledge after seeming confused in an interview with ABC about Russia’s annexation of Crimea and operations in Eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, his top campaign aide, Paul Manafort, is under scrutiny for his ties to Ukraine’s former leader.

Hillary Clinton wrapped up a two-day bus-tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio with her new running mate as she looks to secure her position in the state’s critical to a potential Trump win and full of the white working-class voters she is struggling to appeal to.

The Kochs are sitting out the presidential race. The campaigns are set to begin receiving intelligence briefings. And there are — count ’em — 99 days until Election Day.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Charles Koch Says Suggestion He Backs Hillary Clinton Is ‘Blood Libel’
“At this point, I can’t support either candidate,” he says [TIME]

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Campaigns Invited to White House Transition Meetings
The campaigns were also invited to receive intelligence briefings [TIME]

How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump
Trump’s campaign boss in the spotlight [New York Times]

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Spar Over Putin
Democratic presidential nominee says DNC hack raises serious issues about Russian interference [Wall Street Journal]

Donald Trump to Father of Fallen Soldier: ‘I’ve Made a Lot of Sacrifices’
Trump takes the bait.

Sound Off

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.” — Donald Trump to ABC on Ghazala Khan

“He is a black soul, and this is totally unfit for the leadership of this country.” — Khizr Khan on CNN Sunday

Bits and Bites

McCain slams Trump over Khan fight [Politico]

How Scott Walker Responds to Donald Trump’s Feud With Slain Soldier’s Father [TIME]

Obama to Leave the White House a Nerdier Place Than He Found It [New York Times]

Hillary Clinton Hunts an Elusive Prey: White Male Voters [New York Times]

Trump is the first modern Republican to win the nomination based on racial prejudice [Washington Post]

Trump Says He Turned Down Koch Invite. Koch Aides Dispute He Got One. [TIME]

Debate commission to Trump: The dates are set [Politico]

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