At the Republican debate in Houston last night, Marco Rubio nudged the door that Hillary will have to bust wide open when she goes up against Trump in the general election.
Rubio got in lick after lick against Trump’s supposed strong point and the locus of his greatest vanity: his prowess as a businessman. Rubio painted Trump as a slimy “con artist” who, if it weren’t for his inheritance from his dad, would be “selling watches in Manhattan.” (The Rubio campaign is trying to inflate this into a meme by selling broken “Trump watches” on its website, which notes, “You won’t actually get a broken Trump watch, but your $10 donation will help Marco stop him.”) Rubio wasn’t just saying that Trump oversold his business acumen. He was insisting that the former reality-show star’s business practices are a serious character issue.
And Rubio may have helped open up a bleeder’s cut for Clinton by portraying Trump as a hypocrite about the immigrants his base so loves to hate. Far from building walls to keep them out, Trump hired cheap foreign labor instead of hundreds of willing and ready Americans, as Rubio pointed out. Rube’s oppos folder included something about Trump’s getting sued for hiring undocumented Polish immigrants (“Google it!” Rubio said). He went on to say that if Trump were to build “the wall the way he built Trump Towers, he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it,” and that the Trump label manufactures clothing in the same Mexico and China that he says are stealing American jobs. “So,” Marco concluded, “you’re gonna be starting a trade war against your own ties and your own suits.”
And though it was hard to hear over Trump’s protests, Rubio gleefully attacked the real-estate mogul’s “fake university,” a lawsuit-magnet that charged $36,000 to students who claim they got little in return. “You know what they got?” asked Marco. “They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump.” No wonder, Rubio implied, Trump doesn’t want to make his tax returns available, something both Mitt Romney and Ralph Nader, of all duos, hit Trump on this week.