Michael Gaynor
Carl Cannon hearts Trump targeter Megyn Kelly
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By Michael Gaynor
August 17, 2015

When Kelly followed up with her loaded question, Trump rightly counterpunched.

Carl M. Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. insinuated that Donald Trump's strong response to Megyn Kelly's War on Women attack at the debate for the top ten Republican presidential hopeful was "stupid" and the response of a "loser" or "total loser" or "moron" or "idiot" or "some variation of [Trump's] favorite words (www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/08/16/ what_trump_should_have_said_to_megyn_kelly_127774.html).

Cannon's take on the exchange: "Megyn Kelly threw Donald Trump a knee-buckler in the first Republican debate in Cleveland. That happens, in life, as in baseball. What the hitter should do is gather himself, step back into the box and try and make contact on the next pitch."

The first problem with that is that Trump was not fooled or "frozen" by "an unexpected curveball" that made his "knees buckle involuntarily" and "[a] split second later, the ball crosse[d] the plate for a strike.

The second problem is the a presidential hopeful cannot let such a question and wait for another question.

Cannon's take on Trump's response: "What Donald Trump did was to strike out, kick dirt on the umpire's shoes, and give booing fans the finger on his way back to the dugout while hollering about how much money he makes. After the game, he whined to sportswriters about the pitcher. He hasn't yet been suspended, but that will happen eventually. Cleveland will be remembered as the place where Trump showed he simply isn't a big leaguer."

Cannon is welcome to support another presidential candidate, but his take is nonsensical and Kelly is a married mother of two.

Let's go to the text of the videotape.

KELLY: "Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.'"

TRUMP: "Only Rosie O'Donnell."

KELLY: "No, it wasn't. ... For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell."

TRUMP: "Yes, I'm sure it was."

KELLY: "Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on 'Celebrity Apprentice' it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the 'war on women'?"

TRUMP: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I've been challenged by so many people, and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody.

"And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding. We have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn't do that. But you know – we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That I can tell you right now."

Cannon: "Trump seemed to be expecting a blond cutie to lob him pitches underhand, as in an after-church coed softball game, but he was actually facing Nolan Ryan in a black cocktail dress. Nolan Ryan won."

First, Nolan Ryan should take exception: he threw fast balls, not bean balls.

Second, there's no evidence that Trump was expecting underhand slow pitching from Kelly, certainly after the first question of the debate.

Third, Trump was facing a hit woman "in a black cocktail dress" and treated her a bit gentler than newt Gingrich treated CNN's John King for his attack on Gingrich at the start of a Republican debate before the 2012 south Carolina Republican primary, whether because Trump was gentlemanly or Kelly is "a blond cutie" moderating her first such debate and apparently taking Candy Crowley as a role model.

Fourth, Kelly's question – "how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the 'war on women'?" – suggested that the "war on women" is real, not a Democrat campaign strategy, and Trump might be part of it.

Fifth, as Cannon's preferred response immediately noted, albeit in passing, Kelly's question's ignored the context in which Trump allegedly described particular women as "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals."

Cannon's proposed response (carefully crafted with the benefit of hindsight long after the debate):

"Megyn, without recalling the context of all those quotes, I will promise that you won't hear me disparaging women in this campaign. I love women and respect them – I think we should've had Carly Fiorina on this stage. But I've operated in a different arena. Commercial real estate is a rough world, and sexist – and I've brought women into that business. 'The Apprentice' is entertainment, and a bit of outlandishness helps ratings – as everyone at Fox News knows.

"But 'war on women'? I'm surprised you'd invoke the Democrats' talking point. They apply that description to anyone who questions their extreme views on the life issues. If you don't blindly follow their absolutist view that any abortion, for any reason, in any trimester is perfectly fine, you are somehow anti-woman. Hillary Clinton seems satisfied that the number of abortions in this country has decreased slightly. It's still 1 million a year. Planned Parenthood is trafficking in the body parts of those babies. More than half of the unborn children aborted in this country are girls. If allowed to live, they'd grow up to be women. That's the real 'war on women,' and Democrats are leading it, Megyn."

It's a strong response on the merits, but it ignores what was apparent: the debate moderators were targeting Trump. That first question, by Bret Baier, was designed to isolate Trump from the other nine debaters and make him look like a potential sore loser if he continued to maintain his position that he might run as a third party candidate if treated unfairly by the Republican Party.

That's exactly what President Theodore Roosevelt did in 1912, and the Republican establishment better pay attention to historical precedent.

Trump can afford to finance a third party campaign and the Republican establishment needed the reminder he gave it.

When Kelly followed up with her loaded question, Trump rightly counter punched.

Good for him!

Kelly was supposed to be a moderator, not a judge, juror or participant.

If Kelly can't accept the limitations imposed on a moderator or can't take the heat when a person in the arena counter punches, then she should stay out of that "kitchen."

© Michael Gaynor

 

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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