Donald Trump is a master communicator. But it’s becoming clearer he just doesn’t understand evangelicals, or deeply principled conservatives, which is why his attacks on Ted Cruz not only fail, they rebound back against Trump.
The first fail was Trump’s very strange attack on Cruz’s temperament — which Cruz beat back with one light-hearted tweet. Not only did it fail to make a dent, it reminded Iowa voters which guy’s temperament seems like a little bit of a problem — and it’s not Cruz.
Now at an Iowa rally on Tuesday, Trump launched a second veiled missile against Cruz, just as weird as the first one: “Just remember this. You got to remember in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba.”
In the first place, Iowans showed in 2012 they are happy to vote for a good Christian Catholic like Rick Santorum. In the second place, evangelicals love converts. In the third place, this veiled attack is just going to remind evangelicals how much they like Ted Cruz’s evangelical pastor dad, and the fact that his evangelical conversion is what brought him back to his wife and family — evangelicalism is the reason Ted Cruz did not grow up fatherless.
Two swings and two big misses for The Donald against Cruz.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.