Romney Not Stepping Into Media Repudiation Trap
Mitt Romney's refusal to repudiate Donald Trump sends a signal, both to Democrats and the voting public: With the nation's future at stake in this November's election, Romney will not accommodate calls that he disown supporters who make ill-considered, unpopular, or sometimes outrageous statements on matters not fundamental to the campaign.
Romney aides believe that cooperating with Democrats and media figures who are demanding a Trump disavowal would most certainly lead to more calls for more disavowals of other figures in the future -- leaving Romney spending as much time apologizing for his supporters as campaigning for president. Team Romney views it as a silly and one-sided game designed to distract voters from the central issue of the race, which they remain convinced will be President Obama's handling of the economy.
By one-sided, they mean not only that Obama has not disavowed SuperPAC contributor Bill Maher for a number of Maher's statements that were particularly insulting to Republican women. They also mean the press, with, as Team Romney see it, questionable associations of its own. Has David Gregory, moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," repudiated his colleague Al Sharpton, the MSNBC host with a decades-long record of incendiary statements and actions? And has, say, the New York Times columnist Gail Collins repudiated her colleague Charles Blow, who once wrote to Romney, "Stick that in your magic underwear"? Romney, his team believes, understands that the calls for him to repudiate Trump over the issue of birtherism -- and future calls to repudiate this or that supporter next week or next month over some other issue -- are at the core all about politics.