Saturday, May 25, 2024

Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney in a CNN video. Click the image for a CNN item about whether Romney should have distanced himself from Trump for his views on President Barack Obama’s birthplace.

It’s weird enough for Mitt Romney tell the American people “I had no association with the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999” after filing documents from 1999 through 2002 with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying he was the company’s sole owner, chairman, chief executive and president.

It’s weirder still to ask for an apology from President Barack Obama for bringing up the issue. (Obama’s words: “I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does. … If he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations.”)

But the weirdest thing, when you stop to think about it, is that Romney’s asking for an apology for questions about a document he can’t deny (but kind of does) when his party has been howling for blood for more than three years about a document they won’t admit is real: Obama’s birth certificate.

Technically, Romney is asking Obama to apologize “for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team … he ought to disavow it and rein in these people who are running out of control” — for instance, by saying Romney’s filings might be criminal if false — and I assume that position is tenable because Obama is correct, and that one of the things you learn is that you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations.

It’s possible then that Obama could turn around and ask Romney why he embraces birthers such as Donald Trump, whose relevance in the campaign has been reduced solely to dog whistles over Obama’s race. In late May, Romney made a campaign appearance with Trump in Las Vegas and excused himself for it this way:

I don’t agree with all the people who support me. And my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in. But I need to get 50.1 percent or more. And I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.

Trump isn’t a member of Romney’s campaign like senior aide Eric Fehrnstrom, certainly, but don’t appearances side by side make Trump part of the Romney campaign? Doesn’t his Feb. 2 endorsement make him part of Romney’s team?

Romney looks like he’s holding Obama accountable for anything and himself for nothing, whether he’s thousands of miles away organizing the Olympics or sharing the stage with the endorser and birther known as Trump. This part’s not weird, but it’s not very presidential, either.