Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

Is this just Trump being Trump? Or is it something worse?

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FLAMES OF HADES?!?!? From the New York Times :

"The traditional goal of a presidential nominee is to win the presidency and then serve as president.

"Donald J. Trump is not a traditional candidate for president.

"Presented in a recent interview with a scenario, floating around the political ether, in which the presumptive Republican nominee proves all the naysayers wrong, beats Hillary Clinton and wins the presidency, only to forgo the office as the ultimate walk-off winner, Mr. Trump flashed a mischievous smile.

"'I'll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,' he said, minutes before leaving his Trump Tower office to fly to a campaign rally in New Hampshire."

You might say that's just Trump being Trump , having a little fun at the expense of the ol' MSM. And indeed, the Times' piece goes on to acknowledge it's "entirely possible that Mr. Trump is playing coy to earn more news coverage." But the story also reports on "speculation (which) has again crept into political conversations in Washington, New York and elsewhere that Mr. Trump will seek an exit strategy before the election to avoid a humiliating loss. Now he is refusing to rule out an even more dramatic departure, one that would let him avoid the grueling job of governing, return to his business and enjoy his now-permanent status as a media celebrity."

Any other presidential candidate, in any other year, wouldn't have to be asked whether he'd actually serve as president -- and, in the event he was asked, would have an easy answer: Of course he would serve. But this isn't an ordinary year, and Trump isn't an ordinary candidate. If you think you can predict what he'd do in any given situation, you're only fooling yourself. At the very least, it's another suggestion of the lack of seriousness with which he is taking this whole endeavor.

Speaking of lack of seriousness, your other "what the &@#$" story about Trump today comes from the Washington Post , which reports on a "combative" meeting Trump had with congressional Republicans:

"Trump's most tense exchange was with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been highly critical of the business mogul's candidacy, especially his rhetoric and policies on immigration that the senator has argued alienate many Latino and other voters in Arizona.

"Trump said at the meeting that he has yet to attack Flake hard, but threatened to begin doing so.

"Flake stood up to Trump by urging him to stop attacking Mexicans. Trump predicted that Flake would lose his reelection, at which point Flake informed Trump that he was not on the ballot this year, said the sources, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the private meeting.

"Flake's spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

"Trump also called out Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who withdrew his endorsement of Trump last month citing the business mogul's racially-based attacks on a federal judge, and said he did not approve of the senator's action, said the officials.

"Characterizing Kirk as a loser, Trump vowed that he would carry Illinois in the general election even though the state traditionally has been solidly Democratic in presidential contests. Kirk did not attend the meeting with Trump." (emphasis added in both instances)

The election is four months from tomorrow. The Republican National Convention is set to officially make Trump its nominee two weeks from today. And yet Trump not only is still picking fights with elected Republicans, he's still harboring fantasies he can swing a deep-blue state like Illinois into his column -- when, in reality, his candidacy has endangered the red status of heretofore-solid-red Arizona.

In better news for Trump, he has yet to praise a homicidal dictator today. Then again, it's still early.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.