Gaffe Track: A Nasty Swipe at Carly Fiorina

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The candidate: Donald Trump. Again! I can’t believe it either!

The gaffe: A new Rolling Stone profile captures Trump watching Republican rival Carly Fiorina. “‘Look at that face!’ he cries. ‘Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!’ The laughter grows halting and faint behind him.” Yeesh.

The defense: “I’m talking about persona, I’m not talking about looks ... I say that about a lot of people—‘Look at that! That’s not going to be the president,’” Trump said. Which might be more convincing if he hadn’t followed his original comment by saying, “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” And if he didn’t have a history of misogynistic comments.

Why it matters (or doesn’t): By any normal political rules of gravity, this would haunt Trump. So far, the normal rules haven’t applied to him. So who knows?

The moral: Let he who is without orange skin cast the first stone.