Trump Down, But Not Out

His contradictory statements on different issues were replayed Thursday night when 2 of his 3 remaining opponents tag teamed the GOP front-runner — and he clearly did not have a good night at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. 

But while a group of neutral observers I talked to shortly after the two-hour forum ended agreed Trump sustained damage, there was disagreement as to whether the momentum he acquired after Super Tuesday was in any way reversed.

“It was raucous, rough, and at times embarrassing,” veteran GOP consultant Ford O’Connell told me after the debate, “Frankly, I don’t think I have ever seen anything like it. John Kasich was the adult in the room tonight. He was optimistic and solid on policy minutia. 

"Unfortunately for Kasich, that is just not what a majority of Republican voters are hankering for this cycle.”

Regarding Trump’s performance, O’Connell (who has no horse in the presidential contest) felt that the billionaire “spent an awful lot of time on his heels and explaining his ‘flexibility’ due to the repeated body blows that Cruz and Rubio were delivering with rapid fire. And in politics when you spend an inordinate amount of time explaining, you are losing.” 

As to whether his latest debate performance will ultimately hurt Trump and change the trajectory of the race, O’Connell replied: “We won’t know until the votes are cast in Florida and Ohio. But it is doubtful because as long as the field remains divided, Trump is still likely to skate to the nomination with a plurality of votes because his core 35 per cent support is simply rock solid.”

Read more from John Gizzi at Newsmax

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