It was a moment that was amazing for both its pure audaciousness and its alarming stupidity. Early in Tuesday night GOP debate on Fox Business, longtime Republican Presidential frontrunner and bankruptcy expert Donald Trump stated that he was against raising the minimum wage because wages are already too high in America. He also said that American workers just need to work harder and longer in order to achieve a better income. On Wednesday morning, he doubled down on that statement during a lengthy, pandering interview on Morning Joe.
We’ve been down this road before with Trump. Every week or so, he makes a stupid or offensive remark, pundits and reporters discuss the dumbass statement, Trump gets more media attention, and he remains at the top of the GOP polls. Pretty much starting with his campaign kickoff where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals, to claiming John McCain wasn’t a war hero, to implying that Megyn Kelly was mean to him because she was on her period, to making fun of Carly Fiorina’s appearance, nothing has fazed Trump’s popularity among his loyal fans. In fact, these kinds of comments only cement his position with them.
Therefore, one would be hesitant to proclaim that this time around, the Trumpster has gone too far. Yet, here I am, willing to say that, knowing full well that Trump has been able to foil the naysayers for months now.
The fact is, all those other insults and ignorant rantings and xenophobic statements that were supposed to be the death knell for The Donald were easily forgivable to his supporters and fanboys. They just saw it as Donald telling it like it is and not being politically correct, which is what they love about him. In Trump, they see a successful businessman who knows what it takes to close a tough deal or make a profit. (His four bankruptcies notwithstanding.) After a lengthy career in the private sector, he’s claiming he’s using his own money to Make America Great Again because he truly cares.
However, in this instance, he’s now telling the people who have fanatically embraced him as their savior, people who are generally lower- to middle-class with no more than a high school education, that he not only thinks their incomes shouldn’t increase but that they are making too much damn money as it is. While they’ve lapped up everything he’s said about China and Mexico killing us in when it comes to trade agreements and jobs, it will be a whole other thing to cheer for a billionaire who is actively saying that those making low-income wages need to make even less. That doesn’t really jibe with all of Trump’s ‘winning’ talking points.
It will just be a matter of time before Trump’s opponents start using this comment against him out on the campaign trail. Sure, the rest of the GOP field all said at the debate that they didn’t support a minimum wage hike, but none went so far as to literally say that people are earning too much cash in the manner Trump did. Conservative pundits were already hitting Trump on his remarks Wednesday in an effort to assist other Republicans.
Trump’s ludicrous comment that wages are too high when middle-class wages are stagnant is too big a gaffe to pass up https://t.co/OgxSm9kAR8
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) November 11, 2015
Trump’s “wages are too high” will be the ultimate test of his supporters’ loyalty. Please tweet me if you think you make too much $.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) November 11, 2015
And it won’t just be his GOP opponents looking to use this to hurt Trump. This is tailor-made for Democrats to use to criticize and ridicule the Republican Party. You can already see Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton using it in front of crowds or during interviews, let alone in campaign ads. It is a perfect encapsulation of the supply-side, heartless, capitalism-first, trickle-down ideology that the GOP has embraced over the years.
It has long been suggested that Trump isn’t really interested in winning an election and actually being President as much as he just wants the all-encompassing attention that comes with a high-profile political run. According to this theory, he would always be looking for a way to get out of the race while still at or near the top of the GOP polls. Lately, he seems a bit tired and uninterested as compared with this summer, as he’s been relying on the same material and schtick while simultaneously seeming less combative with the media and his opponents. If this brings negative attention not just from the press and other candidates, but within the crowds at his campaign events, then this could be the opening he’s been seeking.