Donald Trump has finally acknowledged what the GOP has been reluctant to acknowledge for years: the competition for the White House is a war.
Speaking in Hilton Head, South Carolina, after noting GOP rival Jeb Bush’s “low energy,” Trump threw down the gauntlet: “By the way, low energy can be applied to Hillary. I just don’t like to use the same thing twice on one of my enemies, because I consider them enemies. We view this as war. Don’t we view this as war? It’s war, it’s war!”
On Tuesday, Trump asserted that he would have no qualms about using bill Clinton’s horrific record of abusing women against Hillary, saying, “Well if you look at the different situations, of course you could name many of them, I could get you a list and I’ll have it sent to your office in two seconds. But there certainly were a lot of abuse of women, you look at whether it’s Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones, or any of them, and that certainly will be fair game. Certainly, if they play the woman’s card with respect to me, that will be fair game.
Trump’s strategy of always attacking, never ceding ground, has been evident from the start of his campaign:
On July 22, attacking rival candidate Lindsay Graham, Trump gave out Graham’s private cell phone number at a rally in South Carolina, Graham’s home state.
After the first GOP debate on August 6, Trump blasted moderator Megyn Kelly, asserting she had “blood coming out of her eyes.”
When Jorge Ramos interrupted him on August 25 at a press conference, Trump had Ramos removed, snapping, “Go back to Univision.”
“We view this as war. Don’t we view this as war? It’s war, it’s war!”
Donald Trump, on the battle for the White House
In early November, Trump mocked rival Marco Rubio for sweating, lampooning, “He’s the youngest, but I have never seen any human being sweat like that.”
On November 12, mocking GOP rival Ben Carson’s claim that as a teenager he had attempted to stab someone but the victim’s belt blunted the attack, Trump flipped his belt buckle as he attacked Carson in Iowa, taunting, “Give me a break. Give me a break.”
Whether Jeb Bush was correct in addressing Trump’s belligerence by saying, “You can’t insult your way to the presidency,” remains to be seen, but certainly Trump’s bald statements regarding Bill Clinton are a step beyond what any frontrunner against the Clintons has ever said before.