Peter Cavanaugh

The nine lives of Donald Trump

“Now the cat was a terror and he thought that it was best

to give it to a fella who was headin' out west.

The train went around the corner and it hit a broken rail.

Not a soul aboard the train was alive to tell the tale.

But the cat came back. The cat came back.

I thought he was a goner, but the cat came back.

‘Cause he wouldn't stay away.”

“The Cat Came Back” - Harry S. Miller (1893)

Even his most ardent supporters suspected “The Donald” might finally have done himself in.

In two short days leading up to last Saturday’s South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary, Donald J. Trump told off The Pope and then technically defined our country’s last Republican president as a war criminal. Trump subsequently swept the field in weekend voting - grabbing top spot and almost all the delegates with double digit leads over runners-up Ted “The Single Biggest Liar I Ever Met” Cruz and Marco “I’m Not Even Sure He’s Eligible To Run” Rubio.

As Pope Francis flew back to Rome on Wednesday after concluding a wildly successful visit to Cuba and Mexico, including Mass held at the very border between Mexico and the U.S.A. at Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, the Pontiff responded to a reporter’s question about Trump promising to build a giant wall between the two countries.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they might be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian,” Francis said.

Hearing this, Trump characterized the remark as being “disgraceful,” fantasizing that the Holy Father should only hope president Trump is there to fight “when ISIS invades the Vatican.”

On stage with fellow contenders Jeb Bush and John Kasich during that following night’s CNN Town Hall Debate, Donald proceeded to explode when Jeb again attempted to depict his brother, George W. Bush, as having “kept us safe after 9/11.”

“That happened during his reign,” bellowed Trump, adding that the Bush administration had cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars - creating ISIS in the process by intentionally “lying about weapons of mass destruction.”

“W” was even called in from painting landscapes for some rare appearances hither and yon in South Carolina in support of his younger brother’s candidacy. Our 43rd president, with a hairline having receded even faster than his popularity, seemed a sad site. Despite all, I can’t help but begrudgingly like the guy.

“George The Conqueror” surely tried his level best during eight years in office - handicapped by limited reflection, awkward skills and avaricious advisors interested first and foremost in force-feeding an insatiable war machine. Dick Cheney’s not worth $100 million today for past good looks. But even “43” couldn’t help Jeb in his try to be “45.”

Jeb Bush always did seem to be more a question mark than an exclamation point with his hesitant speech, slouched shoulders and hangdog smile. Seconds after the polls closed Saturday night and seeing only 8% support in his column, he finally and mercifully called it quits.

Donald Trump now seems ready to run the table all the way to a Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland come July. If so, our Fourth Congressional District Representative Tom McClintock can look forward to supporting all sorts of interesting ideas, including “bombing the hell out of ISIS,” instituting interrogational torture far past waterboarding and other novel - if not nasty - notions.

If John Gotti was “The Teflon Don,” here we have a genuine “Teflon Donald” with nothing sticking to him other than whatever keeps that thing on his head.

I’ve often written that Trump will never be president and repeat that again, but it surely looks more and more as though he just might become standard-bearer of his party when all is said and dumb.