- The Washington Times
Friday, May 22, 2015

OPINION:

Donald Trump delivered a diatribe in Florida on Thursday night, ripping Republicans as “incompetent” and even bashing the 2012 GOP nominee, saying Mitt Romney walks “like a penguin.”

In an hour-plus monologue at a geriatric-filled arena in Sarasota, Trump — who claims he will thrill the world when he announces in June whether he will run — shredded the party’s hopefuls to cheers and applause.


“It’s going to be an election, in my opinion, about competence. And I’m the most competent by far,” said the thrice-bankrupt businessman. And he said he really didn’t like having to hammer the GOP contenders.

“It’s hard for me. I like these people but they don’t have it. It’s not gonna happen. Even the people I do like — it’s not going to happen, folks. They’re not doing what I do. I do it better than anybody.”

But he spread his animus around, slapping former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, to whom he was especially vindictive.

Fiorina, he said, “ran a company and she got viciously fired. Viciously. … She was walked out of there. And the stock went up seven points the day she got fired. That’s not a good sign.”

“I know about firing people,” whose signature line on his TV show “The Apprentice” is “you’re fired.” “I fire people all day long. I make millions of dollars firing people on television. I know more about firing than anybody in the world. She got fired more viciously than anybody I’ve ever fired.”

Trump said Fiorina’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign loss to Sen. Barbara Boxer was “a landslide. A landslide! And now she says, ‘OK, now I’m going to run for president.” Gimme’ a break!”

He bashed Bush and Rubio as inadequate for the presidency. “They’re not getting us to the promised land.”

And while neither one was in the Senate when lawmakers voted in 2003 for war in Iraq, he criticized their answers in interviews about whether the invasion was the right move. Bush originally said he thought the invasion was the right thing to do, but later said he misheard the question, which included the phrase “knowing what we know today….” And Rubio said “I still say it was not a mistake” because at the time, the world was convinced Saddam Hussein had WMDs.

“I like Jeb Bush. He’s a nice person. But when he was asked about Iraq, he couldn’t give an answer. It took him four days before he got his answer straight,” Trump said. “How would you like him negotiating with the terrorists.”

Trump said Rubio’s answer was even worse because he “had the benefit of watching Jeb make a total fool out of himself.”

“I don’t even know how he could be running for office.”

Trump was at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center to receive the Sarasota Republican Party’s “Statesman of the Year.” But if he runs for the White House, he might not even make the debates, given that networks have decided to take only the top 10 polling candidates.

“First of all, I have great polling numbers, and nobody thinks I’m running, which is interesting,” he said, even though he’s polling in the low single digits in most surveys.

But he says he’s considering a run “because I want to make this country great again. The reason is this room is packed tonight… because people want to hear it. They’re tired of politicians… they’re tired of it. All talk, no action. But they’re tired of it. Bad deals with China. Bad deals with Mexico. Horrible deals with Saudi Arabia. You know Saudi Arabia makes a billion dollars a day. And they give us nothing. And we protect them.”

“You look at Baltimore. You look at places that are just burning up. You think that’s good? … Everybody abuses the U.S. because we have horrible negotiators. We have people who that are not smart. And the world is abusing the United States.”

In a press conference, Trump was asked about the Patriot Act. “I side on the side of security. Okay? If somebody has to listen to my phone call? My phone calls not that exciting, unfortunately for me. I side on the cause of security, because the world is trying to destroy us. Right now.”

On immigration, he said: “You need a border. You need a wall. And nobody can build a wall like Trump. I build the greatest buildings in the world. I will build a great wall that people aren’t getting over. Believe me, they don’t come over my wall. … And Mexico will pay for the wall. Because Mexico has been taking advantage of this country.”

Trump, who reportedly would use his own money to finance a campaign, said he’s heard about the high speaking fees charged by Hillary and Bill Clinton. “I get over a million dollars” per speech, he said, but he’s now “speaking for nothing. This politics is costing me a fortune!”


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