That actual Republicans are starting to flame Donald Trump is probably a pretty good indication that he is making the transition from being viewed as a farcical 2012 candidate to be pointed and laughed at to a semi-serious candidate to be pointed at and targeted. The latest example came Thursday morning when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took aim at Trump during a breakfast speech to the Merrimack County Republican Committee in New Hampshire.
Playing off of the birther obsession which the wealthy reality TV star has used to cloak himself in Republicanism, Paul questioned The Donald’s GOP credentials.
According to the New York Times:
“I’ve come to New Hampshire today because I’m very concerned,” Mr. Paul said. “I want to see the original long-form certificate of Donald Trump’s Republican registration.”
As a bit of laughter erupted in the room, he added, “Seriously, don’t you think we need to see that?”
“I’m going to believe it when I see his embossed seal to his Republican registration,” said Mr. Paul, a rising figure in the Republican Party who is visiting New Hampshire this week during the Congressional recess. He spoke with a smile, but his words marked one of the first times that a leading Republican has challenged Mr. Trump’s ties to the party.
Trump, the Washington Post reported this week, has given $1.3 million to political candidates and parties over the years ... with 54 percent of it going to Democrats. That included $4,800 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as recently as the last election cycle. And of course he had previously threatened an independent run if GOP voters spurn him. Oh and did I mention that he has called Ronald Reagan a con man who couldn’t “deliver the goods”? Might these be problems for a GOP primary candidate? [Vote now: Will Trump seriously run for president?]
And you can be sure that Republicans of longer standing will point out these and other flaws as they start to take him seriously. Senator Paul is a fascinating case both because of his standing as a certified Tea Party hero and the son of likely candidate Ron Paul, the House member from Texas. (The younger Paul reportedly did not mention the older one in his speech.) [Check out political cartoons about the Tea Party.]
It’ll be fun to watch as other GOPers take their shots at Trump--and as he fires back.