One remark from one woman overhauled the energy at last night's Trump town hall
If there were ever a time when a tide changed direction in a single political moment, it was at the Trump set-up with Savannah Guthrie.
For about 45 minutes Guthrie just jumped all over The Donald for every response he made to her or to a questioner.
The first 15 minutes or more were nothing but cross-exams by Guthrie about masks, as if that were the most important question to ask the leader of the free world in the 60 minutes you have him in your arena, in your control.
Every person asking a question was described as a Biden-leaner, former Trump whatever. None of the questions was in the ballpark of "Mr. President, you built the world's best economy; how are you going to do it again?"
Even when a question was not entirely confrontational, Guthrie made the follow-up comment quite in-your-face.
Trump, much to anyone's surprise did not flinch. He never got angry, never called out this ridiculous one-sided hit job. Any other politician would have wilted, acquiesced, or walked out.
Then something interesting happened. A woman with an innocent question — I believe she was a Trump-leaner — asked her already forgotten question. But her comment changed the entire energy of this one-sided event.
She looked at The Donald, now 45 minutes into being hectored at every comment, and said: "Mr. President, you have a beautiful smile."
Trump seemed genuinely stunned — in a good way. No quick rejoinder. He just seemed to look surprised, then smiled greatly, and thanked her.
We may have, for the first time in a lifetime, seen The Donald actually in a nano-moment of being embarrassed. Or something. It was a unique second or two.
Everyone was touched by both her sincerity and the unmasking of Trump the warrior into The Donald, the really OK human, with faults, but the guy would who take all these attacks and just keep going.
One could feel the energy shifting like a group of bullies who just finished beating up some guy then realizing he was going to stand up and take even more. This woman humanized Trump in a way he could not do it on his own.
He is a fighter and he showed it last night. A stranger's comment, in a room of antagonists, noting his really great smile exposed the contrast between the unfair treatment he was getting and who Trump really is. Or may be.
"Mr. President, you have a great smile."
The room applauded. Guthrie backed off, and Trump did not know what to say.
All results we seldom see together.
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.