DES MOINES (AP) – In a shocking and horrifying development, a Donald Trump campaign event in Iowa was interrupted when the Republican front runner was swallowed whole by a giant African lion that had wandered onstage, seemingly out of nowhere.

“It was unbelievable,” said Steven Marponi, a Trump supporter who watched the whole grisly scene unfold from his front row seats. “One second Trump was there, delivering his speech, the next he was down the gullet of that giant lion. We barely had time to even register what was happening, and then the lion vanished back into the woods as quickly as it came.”

Political commentators are still trying to digest this startling news and predict what it will mean for the upcoming Republican Presidential primary. A Republican insider who spoke on condition of anonymity for the obvious reason that he, like every other anonymous insider who talks to the media, is being paid in some way by the Jeb Bush campaign, indicated his belief that being eaten by a lion on live television signaled the likely end of Trump’s campaign.

“Donald Trump is finished politically,” this anonymous paid Jeb Bush staffer said. “His tax proposals are out of step with mainstream America, and also, there’s absolutely no way the American people are going to vote for a guy who’s right now working his way through the digestive tract of a lion.” After an uncomfortably lengthy pause, the operative continued: “…. right?” He then began to sob uncontrollably.

Some Republican commentators disagreed.

“One thing you’ve got to give Trump credit for, he’s the consummate showman,” said Morning Joe co-host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough. “And in this election cycle, I think what we’re seeing is that the establishment is relying on a tired old playbook that just might not work where Donald Trump is concerned.”

“I gotta tell you, in previous years, I would have said, a candidate who embraced higher taxes on the rich would have absolutely no chance to win the Republican nomination, especially if he got eaten alive by a giant African lion on live television ” Scarborough continued. “But this year, I think it’s time for us to accept that Trump might just be breaking the mold where dying during the middle of a campaign is concerned. The establishment really needs to sit up and face the fact that Donald Trump’s digested corpse might win this thing, and they need to start making contingency plans for what happens if Trump’s remains are the Republican nominee.”

For their part, Trump supporters seem unfazed by the news. A Drudge Poll taken just minutes after the shocking event found that by a 61-39 margin, Drudge readers believed that Trump won the exchange with the lion. One Trump supporter who agreed to be interviewed for this story stated, “We are sick and tired of the GOPe telling us who we should and should not support in this election. I have read the Constitution, unlike most of the Republican establishment, and nowhere in it does it say the candidate has to be alive, or that being eaten by a giant African lion disqualifies you from becoming President. We still believe that Trump will #MakeAmericaGreatAgain and if anyone tells us that Trump can’t because he’s dead, we know these are just lies spun by Karl Rove.”

For his part, Trump isn’t allowing being dead and eaten to stop him from tweeting his thoughts about the race, and his position relative to the other candidates.

A Quinnipiac flash poll taken immediately after the shocking event shows that being eaten by a giant African lion has, if anything, strengthened Trump’s lead over the rest of the field, as he now commands 40% of the Republican vote; his closest competitor Ben Carson has fallen back to 15% in a tie with [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ].

The giant African lion could not be reached for comment. It was, however, spotted wearing a red hat with white letters on it as it vanished back into the wilderness.