Amateur Hour In the Presidential Race

The Republicans had a strong and widely-watched convention, and Donald Trump got a substantial bounce as a result. Now he has blown whatever momentum he had with an incomprehensibly stupid response to Khizr Khan, the Muslim father who spoke at the Democrats’ convention. The Democrats can hardly believe their good fortune, as Trump’s duel with Khan dominates the headlines.

The New York Times reports gleefully:

Donald Trump reeled Sunday amid a sustained campaign of criticism by the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq and a rising outcry within his own party over his rough and racially charged dismissal of the couple.

The confrontation between the parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, and Trump has emerged as an unexpected and potentially pivotal flash point in the general election. Trump has plainly struggled to respond to the reproach of a military family who lost a child, and he has repeatedly answered the Khan family’s criticism with harsh and defensive rhetoric.

And Trump’s usual political tool kit has appeared to fail him. He earned no reprieve with his complaints that Khizr Khan had been unfair to him or with his repeated attempts to change the subject to Islamic terrorism.

Hillary Clinton reprimanded Trump, saying at a church in Cleveland that Trump had answered the Khan family’s sacrifice with personal disrespect, and with disrespect for U.S. traditions of religious tolerance.

There is much more.

For how many more news cycles will the Democrats and their press minions be able to beat up Trump with his own unforced error, rather than talking about the issues he is trying to run on? This is what comes of nominating an amateur to run for president. Hillary Clinton had a much worse problem when she was criticized, bitterly, by the parents and siblings of Americans killed in Benghazi. Her problem was infinitely worse than Trump’s since she was actually responsible for those deaths, whereas Trump had nothing to do with the death of Khan’s son in Iraq.

But the Benghazi relatives’ criticisms of Mrs. Clinton have never dominated the headlines, in part because she has responded to them competently, in the manner of a practiced politician. As, for example, yesterday. As Scott noted earlier today, her response was conciliatory:

Hillary Clinton doesn’t hold any ill feelings toward the mothers of Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack who blame her for those deaths, she said Sunday.

“My heart goes out to both of them. Losing a child under any circumstance, especially in this case — two State Department employees, extraordinary men, both of them, two CIA contractors gave their lives protecting our country, our values — I understand their grief and the incredible sense of loss that can motivate that,” Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

How hard is that? In some respects, Donald Trump is an impressive person. In other respects, he doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain. The Republicans sent an amateur to do battle with professionals, and so far, the results aren’t pretty.