Donald Trump is an avid reader of all things relating to himself, so it’s a fair bet that he picked up the New York Times on Wednesday morning and saw this headline: “Wary of Donald Trump, GOP Leaders Are Caught in a Standoff.”
Even if he didn’t read the story, he is undoubtedly well aware of its premise: The Republican Party establishment has long been “uneasy” about his political rise, and now “irritation is giving way to panic as it becomes increasingly plausible that Mr. Trump could be the party’s standard-bearer.”
So, how did Trump respond? He spent the early part of Wednesday afternoon appearing via webcam on the “Alex Jones Radio Show,” which basically amounted to flipping the bird to all those establishment Republicans hoping he’ll straighten out or fall by the wayside.
Jones is perhaps the nation’s foremost 9/11 conspiracy theorist, a guy who has called the terrorist attacks an “inside job” from the moment they happened, who also believes the government has the ability to control the weather and use it as a weapon and that the government is turning people gay by lining juice boxes with estrogen.
By appearing on Jones’s show, Trump sent a clear message to everyone who says he has veered too far outside the mainstream: He. Does. Not. Care.
And why would he? After all, Trump was a leader of "birther" conspiracy theories about President Obama.
As it turned out, the Jones-Trump combo produced (relatively) few outlandish moments. The most bizarre was probably this string of claims by Jones:
“I routinely talk to the top generals, special forces, Pentagon currently, out of the Pentagon, CIA, as I know you do, and we’ll just leave it at that,” he said. “There are a lot of people in this government and also retired who don’t want to destroy the country. The really know that we’ve reached the crossroads where the country’s done, it’s a third-world nation within a few more years. Forget Donald Trump; in four years, if this happens, we’re done. I mean, we’re talking about resurrection of the dead here.”
Trump nodded and added the occasional “right” throughout.
At another point, Trump claimed to have predicted the danger of Osama bin Laden and called for the government to “take him out” in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve.”
“I said, we better be careful with Osama bin Laden,” he told Jones. “There’s a guy named Osama bin Laden, nobody really knew who he was, but he was nasty. He was saying really nasty things about our country and what he wants to do to it. And I wrote in the book — 2000, two years before the World Trade Center came down — I talked about Osama bin Laden. You better take him out. I said he’s going to crawl under a rock. You better take him out. And now people are seeing that, they’re saying Trump predicted Osama bin Landen, which actually is true.”
However, a search through an online manuscript of Trump’s book reveals only a single, passing mention of bin Laden and nothing resembling a call for him to be killed.
On the Trump-o-meter of exaggerations, this one barely registers. But the reality is Trump didn’t really need to say much of anything on Jones’s show.
The simple fact that he appeared with Jones in the first place said plenty.