It’d be hard to argue that real-estate developer Donald Trump
disrupted the 2016 presidential race, two weeks after his entry — and this week’s string of events proves this in remarkable clarity.
Notably, a new CNN poll had Trump rocketing up to 12% among GOP voters nationally, putting him behind only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). Many other surveys have also placed Trump near the top of the pack, including in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
What’s stunning about the CNN poll is that Trump was only at 3% when CNN last surveyed voters in May. And his support, along with Bush’s, appears to have exacted a toll on other contenders: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) both saw their percentages tumble to just 6%:
And though polls have shown Trump is unpopular among the broader Republican electorate — suggesting his support has a relatively low ceiling — he has managed to dominate headlines about the 2016 race since his June 16 campaign launch.
Indeed, Trump has been the star of a seemingly endless string of cable news segments about his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants he made during his kickoff speech.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you,” Trump said while raging against illegal immigration, according to a transcript. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump has since doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on his remarks, insisting that there’s nothing especially controversial about pointing to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. Perhaps his most headline-grabbing defence came in a heated Wednesday interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.
“Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don. I mean somebody’s doing it,” Trump said when Lemon challenged his statistics. “Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”
That led to a memorable chyron:
Republican candidates have had a mixed reaction to the Trump controversy, which they are frequently asked about in interviews.
While speaking with Fox News on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stepped up to defend Trump from his critics.
“I don’t think you should apologise for speaking out against the problem that is illegal immigration. I recognise that the PC world of the mainstream media, they don’t want to admit it, but the American people are fed up,” he said. “Donald Trump is exactly right to highlight the need” to crack down on illegal immigration.
Meanwhile, another one of Trump’s 2016 rivals, former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), is leading the effort to get Republican candidates to denounce the real-estate magnate’s “disrespectful” comments.
“I’m as frustrated as anyone that we don’t enforce the laws and control our borders,” Pataki told Business Insider on Tuesday. “But the vast majority of people who come here from Mexico want to build a better life for their future, for their family, for their kids. That’s what America’s always been about. We have to make sure it’s being done legally, but you don’t, don’t, don’t attack the character of those who are trying to build a better future.”
Trump responded by trashing Pataki on Twitter:
Trump’s remarks about Mexico have also landed him in hot water with a lot of the companies and people he does business with.
Macy’s announced it canceled its Trump clothing line. NBC said Trump will no longer be allowed to host “The Apprentice.” Univision, NBC, and a swath of celebrities dropped Trump’s Miss Universe Organisation beauty pageants, including the upcoming “Miss USA” show. Even a mattress company announced that it would halt its Trump-branded products. And the businessman’s critics are amping up pressure on his other endeavours.
Trump has reacted to the companies with his trademark bravado. He said he is suing Univision for $US500 million and slammed NBC for being “weak.” But some of his most aggressive statements were against Macy’s, which he said he cut ties with instead of the other way around.
He attacked the company’s record:
And claimed that people are cutting up their Macy’s credit cards now:
So yes, it’s been an a roller coaster of a week for the Trump campaign.
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