News and Commentary

Noonan: Trump’s A Mess

Peggy Noonan has a column in The Wall Street Journal that politely but effectively excoriates real estate mogul Donald Trump as being a gigantic, embarrassing mess.

After highlighting the absurdity of Trump suggesting that women should be punished for having an abortion, Noonan argues that Trump has finally begun to hurt himself. Not because of one particular gaffe or tweet, but because after a while the incessant insults, flip-flops, and unhinged tweeting begins to add up.

“What could damage him, and is damaging him, is the aggregate—a growing pile of statements and attitudes that becomes a mood, a warning sign, a barrier,” writes Noonan. “It’s been going on for four or five weeks, and you can take your pick as to the tipping point. Maybe it was when he threatened to ‘spill the beans’ on another candidate’s wife, or when he retweeted the jeering pictures of her and his own wife. Maybe it was his inability to clearly, promptly denounce the KKK; maybe it was when he hinted at riots if he’s cheated out of the nomination. Maybe it was Corey Lewandowski’s alleged battery of reporter Michelle Fields. Maybe it was when Mr. Trump referred in debate to his genitals, a true national first.”

All of this has revealed Trump to be “a large blob of sheer dumb grossness” where even his most ardent supporters have become humiliated by his nonstop childish antics, she argues. Noonan explains the theory known as “The Mess” is now applicable to Trump.

“The Mess is something a candidate occasionally brings with him that voters can tell is going to cause trouble down the road,” Noonan writes. “The Mess is a warning sign; it tells potential supporters to slow down, think twice. The Mess might be a pattern of scrapes with the law, a series of love affairs or other scandals. Voters will accept normal, flawed human beings but they don’t like patterns of bad behavior. They don’t like when they see a Mess, because they don’t want to elect trouble to high office. Donald Trump’s Mess is his mouth, his indiscipline, his refusal to be . . . serious.”

Despite being the frontrunner, Trump has been unable to move beyond his base of support because he focuses on inane matters that are “small, petty, unworthy” rather than discuss the most important issues of the day. The result of his insulting, divisive tactics toward those who disagree with him has only further alienated his critics and skeptics to the point where his “mess” neutralizes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “mess” of brazen lies and corruption. In fact, Noonan believes Trump causes Clinton to seem “normal” in comparison.

While it’s not too late for Trump to change his immature antics, he doesn’t have much time.

“So far Donald Trump has conquered all expectations, half-conquered the American political system, and almost conquered one of our two great political parties,” writes Noonan. “It is sad he can’t conquer himself.”

Other writers throughout the spheres of the Internet have echoed Noonan. RedState’s Leon Wolf, a frequent Trump critic, has a post suggesting that Trump could have locked the nomination if he would just learn to shut his mouth:

Instead, Trump decided to continue his insult comic tour against Cruz, and may have mortally wounded himself in the process. The now-infamous tweet of Heidi Cruz has severely damaged Trump’s ability to consolidate his doubters, especially since there was no reason at all for Trump to have even engaged what a relatively obscure Super PAC said about his wife on a Facebook ad.

His blathering defense of “he started it” has made him sound more juvenile than he already did during this campaign (an accomplishment) and even prompted Anderson Cooper to tell him he was acting like a 5-year-old on national TV. His unforced decision to mock a woman’s looks (for the second time this campaign season) once again brought up the fact that female voters really hate him, and helped further his slide in head-to-head polling against Hillary.

“Donald Trump’s Mess is his mouth, his indiscipline, his refusal to be . . . serious.”

Peggy Noonan

Undecided voters have been repelled by Trump, increasing the difficulty of Trump reaching the 1,237 delegate threshold to clinch the nomination. The New Yorker‘s John Cassidy sees “cracks” in Trump’s support now that these moments of humiliation are occurring in a much smaller field.

As Wisconsin continues to slip away from Trump’s grasp, his big mouth has created an enormous mess that is finally beginning to catch up with him.