The campaign to elect Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears to be progressing from a dumpster fire to a blazing inferno of unforced errors. Trump may already be completing the first giddy spins of what Paul Krugman termed his "derp spiral."
As Trump's utter lack of self-control and seemingly inexhaustible penchant for taking the low road trip him up again and again, rumors abound that campaign staff are shell-shocked and "suicidal" from trying to excuse his erratic, self-defeating behavior.
It's like watching a production of Shakespeare's King Lear, but with Jerry Lewis in a fright wig mugging and pratfalling his way across the stage to illustrate Lear's descent into madness.
Here's a list of seven signs from the last 24 hours that the real estate mogul and former reality TV star is completely losing his grip.
1. He refused to endorse Paul Ryan No one in the Republican Party has to be more filled with horror and remorse than Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), who has spent the campaign season tying himself in so many knots to excuse and explain away his candidate's racist, xenophobic outbursts that he now looks like "Clippy," MS Word's anthropomorphic paperclip.
Then on Tuesday, when Trump was asked if he endorses the Speaker for re-election, Trump replied that he's "just not quite there yet." Oh, how sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a thankless child!
2. He mansplained away sexual harassment When asked about his feelings on sexual harassment in the workplace, Trump said women should quit their jobs and find another or stay and tough it out.
“I think it’s got to be up to the individual,” Trump said. “It also depends on what’s available. There may be a better alternative; then there may not. If there’s not a better alternative, then you stay. But it could be there’s a better alternative where you’re taken care of better.”
That may be well and good if you're an heiress like Ivanka Trump and blow your nose on $50 bills, but for ordinary working women, just quitting your job and walking away is generally not an option.
3. He refused to endorse John McCain and belittled McCain's commitment to veterans Not content to have attacked former POW Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for having been a prisoner of war at all, the Cheesy Poof who Would Be President belittled the Arizona senator for criticizing his attacks on Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan.
Trump said that he's "never been there with John McCain because I've always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets" and then declined to endorse McCain for re-election.
Attacking McCain's commitment to veterans is mighty rich coming from a man who had to be publicly shamed into paying up on his promises to aid veteran's groups.
Trump may be in fact a kind of scientific curiosity. How can a man be so vain when he is apparently unable to see himself in a mirror?
4. He said Khizr Khan is against him because he's "bothered' by Trump's position on "radical Islamic terrorists." Dragging his wildly unpopular attacks on the Khan family into a second week, Trump suggested that the real reason Khizr Khan doesn't like him because maybe Khan loves terrorists and thinks there should be more in this country.
"When you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place, we’re allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands," Trump said. "And I think that’s what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else.”
Trump is so far off the beam here that he might as well be orbiting Jupiter along with NASA's Juno probe. Khizr Khan's son died at the hands of Islamic extremists in Iraq. The fact that Trump thinks this inclines the grieving father toward terrorists shows just how shallow the candidate's thinking is with regards to foreign policy and threats against America.
It's right up there with assuring the world that Russia's President Vladimir Putin won't invade Ukraine because he's already in Crimea, which is like saying that Gen. Sherman won't invade Georgia because he's already marched through and burned down Atlanta.
5. He pocketed a veteran's Purple Heart medal and said, "I've always wanted to have a Purple Heart." Given that Trump got multiple Vietnam War draft deferments, has lied about his work with veterans and attacked war hero John McCain for being a prisoner of war, it seems especially gross that at a rally on Tuesday, Trump accepted a veteran's Purple Heart, the medal the U.S. military awards to service members who are injured in combat.
"I’ve always wanted to have a Purple Heart. This was much easier. But I tell you it was such an honor,” said the nominee.
I'm fairly certain there are a number of highly-placed Republicans today who would like to help him earn that medal retroactively.
6. He doesn't seem entirely certain who he is running against In keeping with his apparent determination to alienate every major player in the party that nominated him, Trump on Tuesday picked a fight with New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who criticized the baby-handed billionaire's attacks on the Khan family.
“New Hampshire is one of my favorite places,” Trump said to the Washington Post. “You have a Kelly Ayotte, who doesn’t want to talk about Trump, but I’m beating her in the polls by a lot. You tell me. Are these people that should be representing us, okay? You tell me."
Kelly Ayotte is not running for president and Trump is not running to be a New Hampshire senator, so it's very hard to say which polls Trump is referring to.
7. He picked a fight with a baby At a campaign rally on Tuesday in Virginia, Trump ejected a woman with a noisy baby from the room.
At first, the candidate pretended he was charmed by the baby's crying.
“Don’t worry about that baby. I love babies,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around like—don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want.”
Moments later, he reversed course.
"Actually I was only kidding, you can get the baby out of here," he said to laughs. "I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I'm speaking. That's OK. People don't understand. That's OK."
Apparently, only one loud, petulant baby at a time is allowed to have the floor at a Trump rally.