In the first paragraph of The New York Times front-page story on Sunday, the newspaper said that because Megyn Kelly “questioned him forcefully at the Republican presidential debate,” Donald Trump said she did it “because she was menstruating.” He did not. Whether the newspaper was perpetrating a lie on its gullible readers or simply confused I cannot say. In the next paragraph readers can see for themselves what Mr. Trump actually said.
He said, “You could see there was blood coming out of [Ms. Kelly’s] eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” when she rather bluntly questioned him on indelicate subjects. The paper went on for more than half a page recording the observations of people such as ex-Sen. Judd Gregg and Sen. Lindsey Graham who, by the way, trails Mr. Trump badly in the polls. It turns out that they did not hear Mr. Trump mention menstruation, either. Their observations were merely speculations.
Dare I say it? They were the speculations of dirty minds. Hey, Lindsey, get your mind out of the gutter. As Mr. Trump quite aptly said later, “Only a deviant would think I was saying anything about blood somewhere other than her eyes or her nose.” He explained the word “wherever” as a typical rhetorical device for brevity and for moving on to other matters. It was not an anatomical reference. That satisfies me, but now let us see if Mr. Graham and Mr. Gregg begin complaining that Mr. Trump has called them deviants. Oftentimes, our presidential campaigns give way to absurdities.
Mr. Trump has a gift for turning stupid or tendentious questions to his benefit, and he did it again the other night with Ms. Kelly by immediately assailing political correctness. Once again he had identified an issue that struck a resonant chord with his audience. The applause was thunderous. Supposedly, political correctness is employed to prevent hurting the feelings of whatever group of people might be aggrieved. Actually, it is more often resorted to by opportunists intent on being treated as a privileged class. Perhaps they might even advance themselves by taking advantage of this false issue.
Moreover, those who stress political correctness are the enemies of clear thought and occasionally of laughter. Mr. Trump has brought back humor or, as he would say, “fun,” into public life. Much as Rush Limbaugh has brought laughter back to radio commentary, Mr. Trump has brought back a fleeting sense of fun into politics. I for one hope he keeps it up. Anyone who thinks he brought “menstruation” into politics the other night has another thing to grouse about, and those of us who enjoy a good laugh can laugh at them and at the front-page editors of The New York Times last Sunday, assuming anyone edits the newspaper these days. It abounds with solecisms and impenetrable sentences.
For days now the American political classes have been huffing and puffing about an absurdity that Mr. Trump never committed. These people who say we should all be above such frivolity have wallowed in it and ignored the real issues of the day, such as America’s economy, its approaching bankruptcy, and the approaching nuclearization of the Middle East. In truth, the Republican Party the other day gave us reason to take heart. Any one of the Republican candidates could do a terrific job running against the field of Democratic gerontocrats. Several distinguished themselves — for instance, the great debater, Sen. Ted Cruz. Yet two caught my attention, Gov. John Kasich from Ohio and Carly Fiorina, the former technology executive.
Mr. Kasich over the weekend refused to get into a spitting match over the statement that Mr. Trump never made. Rather on the Sunday talk shows he advanced his views on positions and steadfastly refused to indulge in “negativity.” He showed great restraint that other candidates could profit from. The other rising star was Mrs. Fiorina. Yes, she took advantage of political correctitude ever so slightly but then she moved on displaying an inexhaustible grasp of the issues and a winning personality. She is a principled conservative on every issue and puts me in mind of an American Margaret Thatcher.
Actually, the whole Republicans field looks brilliant compared to the old fogeys in the other party. Last week it was the Republican Party that won the debate.
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.
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