The Trump camp’s biggest misstep yet: picking a fight with Beyoncé

Did someone say my name?
Did someone say my name?
Image: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
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Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is flailing. He’s five points behind Hillary Clinton, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of the polls, most of which were tallied before the leak of a 2005 tape in which Trump bragged about sexual assault. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend, that accounted for the leaked tape but did not include Sunday’s debate (which Trump lost), showed Trump down by double digits.

As his campaign collapsed, Trump’s surrogates made the rounds on cable news, defending Trump’s gross comments by reframing them as but a symptom of a larger, societal problem with lewd language.

It didn’t work.

Betsy McCaughey, the Republican former lieutenant governor of New York and a current adviser to Donald Trump, went on CNN last night (Oct. 10) and attempted to explain that Trump’s comments were actually the fault of world-renowned, Grammy-winning artist Beyoncé Knowles.

“I abhor lewd and bawdy language,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon. “I don’t listen to rap music. I don’t like that kind of thing. It’s full of the f-word, the p-word, the b-word, the a-word.”

Lemon seemed bewildered. ”I don’t think anybody likes that, but those people are not running for president,” he replied.

What followed was truly extraordinary.

“Hillary Clinton expresses that she finds the language on that bus horrific,” McCaughey said, “but in fact she likes language like this: ‘I came to slay bitch, when he f me good I take his ass to Red Lobster.'”

These are lyrics from the pop star Beyoncé’s song “Formation.” McCaughey continued, arguing that Clinton was hypocritical for criticizing Trump’s predatory remarks because she “idolized” and “imitated” Beyoncé, who has used racy language in some of her songs.

Watch the madness below:

Also yesterday, another Trump supporter, Scottie Nell Hughes, blamed the bus comments on sexually explicit books like Fifty Shades of Grey, and movies like “the vampire trilogy” (we assume she meant Twilight) and Magic Mike.

“Unfortunately, we have made that to be sort of a part of the culture, a Fifty Shades of Grey culture in today’s society that men can talk like that,” Hughes told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Fifty Shades of Grey came out in 2011. Trump’s comments were made in 2005.

Other Trump supporters and surrogates have in recent days made similar arguments.

The rush to blame Trump’s disturbing comments on anything other than Trump himself—and the political party that has put him forth as its candidate—is evidence of a campaign in the throes of disarray.

Going after Beyoncé is, especially, a major miscalculation, as her rabid fan base (known as the “Beyhive”) won’t take kindly to its idol being blamed for the predatory comments a man made 11 years ago. Already there are signs that the Beyhive has been kicked: