Bobby Jindal is not going to take Donald Trump sitting down.
The Louisiana Governor tore into Trump in a press conference today, calling the celebrity Presidential candidate a “carnival act” and an “unstable narcissist,” and comparing Trump to Kim Kardashian (though, oddly, he left out any mention of Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, of whom Trump is a declared fan). The pushback comes as Trump has dominated the news cycle over the last 24 hours for a spate of bizarre comments, first about Carly Fiorina’s looks (to Rolling Stone) and then about Ben Carson’s track record as a neurosurgeon.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tore into Republican presidential rival Donald Trump Thursday, calling him an “unstable narcissist” and warning that he would ruin the GOP’s chance of winning the general election of he wins the Republican nomination.
“We can ‘make America great again,’” Jindal said, cribbing Trump’s campaign slogan. “But we will not do that by putting an unserious and unstable narcissist in the White House.”
Jindal added that Trump “is shallow. Has no understanding of policy. He’s full of bluster but has no substance. He lacks the intellectual curiosity to even learn.”
Jindal is taking a big gamble here. To tangle with Trump is to increase Trump’s profile, and since name recognition seems to be the cornerstone of Trump’s popularity, increase his poll numbers as well. By being the candidate to take on Trump directly, Jindal is placing himself squarely in Trump’s crosshairs, which may or may not work to his advantage, as Trump rails on in his classic Trump way, hurling ill-conceived insults at his opposition, just six days short of a debate where he’ll face them. And while Trump can accuse debate moderators of favoritism all he wants, the fact remains that he performed worse than both Fiorina and Carson in the last matchup.
Trump’s reaction to pushback on his comments about both Fiorina and Carson has been an Achille’s heel as well. In response to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to his comments about Carly Fiorina, Trump stammered, bizarrely, that he wasn’t talking about Fiorina’s face, but rather her “persona,” even though his original statement was, “look at that face.” As for Ben Carson, it’s hard to put any weight behind Trump’s statement that Carson was a middling professional surgeon who made no meaningful contributions to his profession. Carson was a pioneer in his field, and remains so, even as he’s abandoned it for a professional political life.
Jindal will, no doubt, have an uphill battle here, even if he’s assisted by a turning tide of public opinion. Most of his compatriots running against Trump, including other regular supporters like Ted Cruz, will sit out the battle in the hopes that they’ll claim Trump’s slice of the pie once Trump loses interest in politics and moves on to more profitable endeavors. The cheese stands alone.
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