Fox News panel is baffled that Donald Trump continually 'pulverizes' his own message

This Fox News panel is baffled by Donald Trump
(Image credit: Fox News/YouTube)

Brett Baier's Special Report panel on Sunday examined Donald Trump's shot at winning the 2016 election, with Baier taking special care to explain why Fox News doesn't use the three national polls that show Donald Trump winning or tied. But mostly the panel discussed Trump's big speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, in which he laid out plans to reduce regulation and "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C., if elected — and also promised to sue the 11 women accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior.

The four panelists — Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt, RealClearPolitics associate editor A.B. Stoddard, Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace, and TownHall's Guy Benson — all agreed that Trump's policies outlined on Saturday were potentially potent and popular, but that he blew it with the lawsuit threat. Trump's inability to "put his grievances aside," Pace marveled, "that's his mistake, and I don't understand why at this point in the campaign he hasn't come to grips with that."

"It's the trap he walks into knowingly," agreed Benson. Trump's Gettysburg proposals are "getting short shrift, and I just try to close my eyes and envision an alternate campaign where he gives this speech, without the other nonsense, in early September, after Labor Day, and then relentlessly focuses on it when the women come out, when the tape comes out." Donald Trump "doesn't step on his message, he pulverizes it," Stoddard said, "and the only time he ever did well, and built the momentum, and really had Clinton on her heels" was from his mid-August campaign shakeup until the first debate in late September, a period where he was "Teleprompter Trump, always on message, always with his notes, really restrained from Twitter, and not talking about his anger grievances."

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If Trump "really cared about this issue, it would have been part of his message a year ago," Stoddard added, and campaign manager "Kellyanne Conway can go on all the shows she wants and talk about what they're going to try and do, and keep it focused on the issues and its all the media's fault, but Donald Trump is destroying his campaign." That doesn't mean it's over for Trump, Hurt said. "This has been the wildest election of my lifetime, and if he were to come back, it wouldn't be the strangest thing that happened in this campaign."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.