Should Mitt Romney repudiate Donald Trump? This question arises because A) Romney joins Trump for a fundraiser in Las Vegas Tuesday night, and B) Trump continues to question whether President Obama was born in the United States.
It's true – even though Obama has released his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii, the Donald says he remains unconvinced of the citizenship of the nation’s chief executive. In an interview with the Daily Beast last week, Mr. Trump pointed to an old Obama bio from a literary agency that listed him as a Kenyan native.
The literary folks in question quickly corrected what they said at the time was an error, and an employee admitted the mistake. Trump thinks that’s suspicious.
“He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth,” the developer/reality show host told the Beast’s Lloyd Grove.
On Tuesday, Trump doubled down, writing on his Twitter feed that Mr. Obama is “practically begging” Mr. Romney “to disavow the place of birth movement, he is afraid of it and for good reason.”
Unsurprisingly, the Obama campaign is all over this. The president’s camp released an ad Tuesday that contrasts Sen. John McCain correcting voters’ misinformation about Obama with Romney’s Trumpian embrace.
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is waving the dispute aside. Asked about it on Monday, he said “I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in.”
Even if Romney wanted to keep Trump at arm’s length, now’s a bad time. Tonight’s Las Vegas dinner should raise $2 million for Romney’s coffers. The pair even raffled off a seat near them to raise extra dough.
And here’s our view: Romney doesn’t have to repudiate Trump, because a political association with the “Celebrity Apprentice” chief, however tenuous, is its own punishment.
Look at it in this context: surely you’ve heard Trump rant about something or other on “Fox & Friends,” or “The View.” If you were as rich as Romney, wouldn’t you pay $2 million to avoid having dinner with that person? Of course you would.
But Romney’s gritting his teeth and bearing up for the sake of party harmony. Or something – conservative columnist George Will, for the life of him, can’t understand why the presumptive GOP nominee started down this road at all.
“I do not understand the cost/benefit here.... The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me,” said Will on Sunday during an appearance on ABC News’ “The Week.”
Trump fired back in kind on his Twitter feed, writing that Will is the “dumbest” and “most overrated” political commentator of “all time.”
“If the Republicans listen to him, they will lose,” wrote Trump.