Michael Der Manouel Jr., former state GOP party treasurer and current chairman of the pro-business Lincoln Club of Fresno County, a staunch Republican organization, has never been shy about offering up his opinions.
And so it goes on social media sites like Twitter as well as during a daily radio commentary on Power Talk 96.7. Der Manouel’s thoughts are almost always hyper-opinionated, in-your-face and unapologetic
Kind of like Donald Trump.
Not so coincidentally, Trump happened to be the subject of Der Manouel’s Monday radio commentary, as well as multiple Twitter tweets in recent days as the New York businessman has found himself at the top of the Republican presidential polls, but also the center of controversy over comments made about women and Mexican immigrants, among others.
Der Manouel not only defends Trump, but in true Der Manouelian fashion, he uses his typical strong language.
“Yes, Donald Trump is full of bombast,” Der Manouel says in a Monday Power Talk commentary. “Yes, he insults people. Yes, he’s very sure of himself. So what?”
Der Manouel says he wouldn’t use the language himself, but defended Trump using it.
The latest Trump brouhaha started when moderator Megyn Kelly asked him during a debate last week about his history of sexist comments about women, saying he’d called them fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.
“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump quipped at the time.
Later, he called Kelly a bimbo in a tweet and then said in a CNN interview that “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever."
Critics jumped on the statement, saying it referred to a woman menstruating, a charge Trump denied. Whatever the case, it’s just the latest in a string of bombastic statements from Trump.
Besides having a long-running feud with O'Donnell, the comedian and political activist, several others have found themselves in Trump’s crosshairs, including conservative columnists George Will, a “loser,” according to a Trump tweet, and Charles Krauthammer, an “overrated clown,” from another tweet.
Earlier, Trump said undocumented immigrants from Mexico were “bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Der Manouel doesn’t think the immigration comments will hurt either Trump or the Republican Party because Latinos offended by the remarks were unlikely to vote GOP anyway. On the other hand, he says immigration needs to be addressed and Trump is doing it.
As for the comments about women, Der Manouel says he doesn’t care about Trump’s inflammatory words.
“What’s worse?” he asks. “Words, or guys up on stage (in the GOP debate) who have participated in running this country into $23 trillion of debt. Who are casting votes bankrupting our nation?”
Der Manouel — who says he’s undecided on who he’s supporting in the Republican field, though he says he could see himself backing Trump — says Trump does need to learn how to handle tough questions, and he said Kelly’s debate queries were appropriate.
Many others in the field, however, need more work than Trump, he says.
“They’ve all voted for continuing resolutions, debt-ceiling increases, ObamaCare funding,” he says. “They haven’t cut a thing.”
Trump, he said, is giving the GOP a chance to beat the Democrats next year because he’s discussing the tough issues that wouldn’t be part of the debate if he wasn’t in the race. He’s also must-see-TV, driving up debate viewers — which helps all candidates.
The controversial, hot-button comments will likely be old news in November 2016, whether Trump is the nominee or Democrats try to tie his words to another Republican, he says.
“Most people who are critical of him don’t even know what he’s saying about policy,” Der Manouel says. “They just think he’s bombastic. It’s good for him to be in our pool of candidates. All the candidates have moved to the right since Trump has got into the race.”