Well the Pope did it. He ensured Trump a victory in South Carolina and upped the odds for the nomination. Attacking the Pope on the border was so easy to do. Trump and the Pope’s move just checkmated his republican opponents who all want the wall too. Watching Bush remarks earlier, Bush looked like a man in utter defeat.
If Bush attacked Trump people would question a) if he was Pope’s yes man and b) his commitment to the border. Actually all the Catholic candidates are in exact same situation (Rubio and Kasich) they cannot defend the Pope since they will be seen as weak on immigration. On Trump’s tone? Maybe but that will be ignored since everyone knows Trump hits back hard. It will actually reinforce it.
How many Catholic republicans will say “you know Pope is right there should not be a wall”. Sorry cannot picture more then a tiny fraction.
Also Saturday is the election so what will the news be until then? Trump, the Pope and the wall. Trump for the wall, Pope against it. It just stresses for the next day immigration and the border both which are Trump’s strengths.
What the Pope said was for Trump was Manna from Heaven.
Upside in general election his attack on the Pope will ensure very low numbers of Hispanics voting for any republican. Catholics in the center could very well be put off by this. Catholic vote for republicans could be just low enough democrats get in. If the Republican party take on an anti Pope stance this will cost them elections in November.
For primary and nomination this strengthens Trump. General should weaken him.
I could be wrong.