The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Donald Trump now thinks John McCain, who he called ‘very bright’ in 2008, is a ‘dummy’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks July 11 in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
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One of the more entertaining parts of the Donald Trump Political Show, now entering its second month on your local cable news station, is watching his reaction to criticism. Which there's plenty of.

When the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza stopped by Sen. John McCain's office this week, he asked Arizona's senior senator what he thought about Trump's rally in his home state last weekend. "This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me," McCain told Lizza. "Because what he did was he fired up the crazies." McCain worries that Trump has "galvanized" the anti-immigrant faction of the Republican Party, to the GOP's detriment.

Embracing his newfound position as darling of the far right, Trump lashed out with all of the grace and thoughtfulness that we have come to expect.

In 2008, Trump offered McCain his endorsement, not that it helped much. On "Larry King Live," Trump said of the senator, "I'm with him, and I'm with him based on the fact that I have great knowledge of John McCain."

Then there's this clip of Trump during that same period.

He begins by saying that he's a friend of Hillary Clinton who is a "terrific woman." Transitioning to McCain, Trump says: "I know John McCain really well. ... I really think he'll be a good president. He's a tough guy, he's a smart guy, he's a very, very bright guy. He's just a quality human being."

He kept talking. "He is a man worthy of respect," Trump said. "And this country no longer has respect. What we need more than anything else is just that word: Respect."

No kidding.