Trump still doesn’t get it — words do matter

Miami Herald Editorial Board

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference in New York on Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference in New York on Tuesday. AP

Ugly words have consequences — that’s a lesson Donald Trump should learn — but probably won’t. His insults and slurs and bluster have made him the GOP’s presumptive nominee for president, and further emboldened him to attack reporters for doing their jobs and holding him accountable.

His coarse words, unfortunately, have riven the country. And on Wednesday, Miami-Dade County in particular felt a stinging rebuke, likely for Mr. Trump’s unpresidential behavior.

The venerable PGA Tour announced it would move its famed annual tournament out of Mr. Trump’s resort property, the Trump National Doral. After 54 years PGA officials said, they couldn’t land a sponsor — this year of all years. Though they tip-toed around the most glaring issue, declaring political neutrality, can there be any doubt that the PGA couldn’t get away from the Trump name fast enough? It became a liability in trying to snag a sponsor.

This was its second effort to move the game from the Doral location. The first attempt came last year after Mr. Trump denigrated Mexicans crossing the border into the United States, calling them largely drug dealers and rapists. The PGA investigated relocating to Key Biscayne.

Now the PGA is leaving the county, and the country, taking with it the millions of dollars pumped into our economy during the nationally televised tournament and the temporary jobs it generates.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that the PGA last week made a last-minute request asking him to secure $6 million for the yearly golf tournament. But it came far too late in the game, and the championship is decamping for, of all places, Mexico City. Rich, huh?

Mr. Trump spun on about how terrible it is when American companies relocate to foreign countries. Fair enough. But then he had to add: “By the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance,” he said to the PGA. Rim shot here.

Mr. Trump’s brush-off came a day after he held a contentious, insult-laced news conference in which he went on the attack — his default position — because he didn’t want to answer reporters’ questions. The topic: Where’s the money?

In January, he skipped the final debate before the Iowa caucuses, hosted by Fox News, because, apparently, its big, bad reporters had hurt his widdle feelings. He said he would raise $6 million for veterans groups instead, which would include a $1 million personal donation. But his contribution came in four months later and only after the Washington Post took a deeper look into the funds’ disbursement.

In the grand tradition of politicians everywhere, he sidestepped the question. But he lashed out in a stunningly unpresidential form, throwing a sneering tantrum unworthy of a 3-year-old.

When pressed about the funds, he got testy, then nasty, then blew a gasket: “You’re a sleaze,” he spewed at a reporter from ABC News; “You’re a real beauty,” he told one from CNN.

Mr. Trump doesn’t get it: The media are not his enemies, but they are not his friends, either — though many outlets continue to treat his every tweet as a fascinating, mesmerizing bauble.

In vilifying the probing media, he is actually giving the back of his hand to the American public, which has every right to know whether he is a man of his word, a man of integrity, a man committed to transparency, a man unafraid to be held accountable.

Mr. Trump is running for president, not king.