With a victory in Texas' presidential primary on Tuesday, Mitt Romney officially earned enough delegates to win his party's nomination. But sadly for Romney, says Ashley Parker at The New York Times, that moment in the sun was "hijacked" by Donald Trump and his signature political issue: The factually inaccurate claim that President Obama was not born in America. Trump, who's endorsed Romney and co-hosted a Las Vegas fundraiser with the candidate Tuesday night, spent the day preaching birtherism while doing the media rounds. Romney then failed to distance himself by repudiating Trump. Result: Romney's plan to kick off his general campaign on his own terms was lost in the din over the president's birth certificate. Has Trump hijacked Romney's campaign?
No. Blame the media for giving Trump the spotlight: Coverage of Trump has been completely over-the-top and one-sided, says Byron York at The Washington Examiner. For example, the media has never called on Obama to "repudiate" comedian Bill Maher, a supporter who's made a number of statements "that were particularly insulting to Republican women." Romney knows that this trumped-up controversy is "all about politics," and that Obama's handling of the economy will be the deciding issue come November. No amount of repudiation will change that.
"Team Romney: Not gonna play repudiation game"
But Trump is hugely damaging to Romney: America spent most of Tuesday "marveling at the spectacle Trump was making of himself, and the fool he was making of Romney," says Alex Koppelman at The New Yorker. Trump is doing Team Obama a lot of favors: "He's helping them portray Romney as weak and craven, he's firing up the Democratic base, and he's distracting the media from the issues that could actually hurt the re-election campaign." Romney "can't afford to lose many news cycles the way he lost" this one.
"Romney gets Trumped"
Mitt's campaign is being hijacked by forces larger than Trump: The Trump controversy will probably leave "only a shallow mark on the voting public's consciousness," says Alex Roarty at National Journal. But Romney's association with The Donald, motivated by a desire to curry favor with fringe elements of the GOP, suggests that his campaign has been hijacked by the far Right. Romney's Trump dilemma "is one that could repeat itself through Election Day," as he appears with controversial evangelical leaders, extreme budget hawks, and anti-immigration zealots. Trump won't cost Romney the election, but the "forces that have compelled him" to side with Trump just might.
"Trump a symptom of Romney's problem"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- 10 things you need to know today: July 29, 2014
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- How to trim $500 from your monthly spending
- Comic-Con 2014: Everything we learned about Avengers 2, Batman v. Superman, and more
Subscribe to the Week