Americans see a Gold Star family and Donald Trump sees two Muslims

At around 1:30 Saturday afternoon, the Colorado Springs Fire Department got a call that nine people were trapped in an elevator with Donald Trump.

Not long after, a unit of firefighters arrived and opened the top of the elevator which was stuck between the first and second floors of the Mining Exchange resort hotel. Next they lowered a ladder and everyone climbed safely out.

The captivity might have been hard on the nine innocents, but the release turned out to have been a terrible break for Trump. If he’d stayed locked in the elevator, he might have been prevented from talking with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

This week’s This Week will be replayed for a long time for Trump’s (Please, God!) self-destructive performance.

First, Trump assured a news cycle dominated by two of his Worst Moments Ever, his disparagement of the universally honored former POW Sen. John McCain, which was forcibly brought to mind by his being called out by the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier, and then responding.

Rather than take his whipping, in which the US Constitution replaced the kid gloves waved in his face, like a morally conscious adult, Trump whined to Stephanopoulos that Khizr Khan’s criticisms were unfair. “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right,” Trump said, once again forgetting the First Amendment, “to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.”

And then with all the emotional control of a six year old, he literally resorted to the argument, “you’re worse.”

“If you look at his wife,” he told Stephanopoulos, “she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”

Americans see the personification of an honorable Gold Star family and Donald Trump sees two Muslims, and a false cliché, the woman forced into silence.

But there was more Trump killing Trump.

“He’s not going to go into Ukraine,” Trump told Stephanopoulos, referring to Vladimir Putin. “You can mark it down.”

“Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Mr. Stephanopoulos interrupted.

“O.K., well, he’s there in a certain way,” Mr. Trump replied. As if there were some way in which Putin and his intelligence and security operatives, his soldiers and his local supporters were NOT there, not in control of the eastern third of the country.

But forget those annoying details, to the egotist sublime, only one thing matters about Ukraine, whatever is going on there.

It’s the totalitarian’s template, the mantra: “But I’m not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama.”

Trump would have been better off in that elevator than to once again being heard talking about Ukraine, another subject that brings with it damaging associations.

Not only is what he says about Ukraine wrong, he sounds completely uninformed, and he seems to want to soften the image of the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin. It raises the question — is campaign manager Paul Manafort working for Trump, or is Trump working for Manafort, who has served Putin’s interests before. He was for years the public relations advisor to Putin’s Ukrainian puppet, Viktor Yanukovich, the guy tossed out by the Maidan Revolution.

Now, more and more Trump-Nevers are speculating, one reason Trump wants to keep his tax returns hidden might be his suspected indebtedness to Russian banks. Which are influenced by Putin.

It looks like Trump is putting his mouth where his money is, at America’s expense.

Head to davemarash.com to check out Here & There with Dave Marash. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.