As the GOP race nears its finale, the Donald Trump campaign is trying to remold the candidate that has ruffled so many feathers right across the political spectrum.
We saw flashes of “Presidential Trump” in his New York victory speech on primary night, where he refrained from using his famous “Lyin’ Ted” phase when referring to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The speech was focused and more understandable than his usual rants.
Nevertheless, those signs were short-lived.
The day after his win in New York, Trump was back to bashing “Lyin’ Ted” at a rally in Indianapolis: “In the case of Lyin’ Ted Cruz. Lyin’ Ted. Lies. Ooh, he lies. You know Ted. He brings the Bible, holds it high, puts it down, lies.”
Next came some assurances from his new top aide and convention manager Paul Manafort -- who many are crediting with the apparent but minimal change in Trump’s style and tone.
According to The New York Times, Manafort spoke with worried Republican elders and explained: “You’ll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You’ll see a real different way … The part that he’s been playing is now evolving.”
So, Mr. Manafort, are you saying that the Trump we’ve come to know so well these past months isn’t the “real” Donald Trump?
What does that mean for his supporters who flock to him for his exuberant lack of political polish? Isn’t this “part that he’s been playing” clearly a message to the GOP elite that he doesn’t really believe what he’s been spouting all along?
One of his central policy prescriptions and among the most divisive, a wall on the southern border, is still very much alive, as he repeatedly told supporters in Connecticut: “I promise we will build the wall.” So much for toning it down a notch.
Politico reports this morning that Donald is displeased with Manafort, adding more duties back to the purview of campaign manager and internal Manafort rival, Corey Lewandowski.
Donald is poised to win big today, where both Republicans and Democrats vote in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
This “pivot,” while possibly finite, is most likely coming late enough in the game that it won’t interfere much with winning the nomination. His team and many in the GOP hope that come the general election, centrist Republicans completely turned off by their party’s front-runner will somehow start to see the moderate and more presidential Donald Trump.
While that seems unlikely, Trump has already defied so many expectations, anything could happen between now and November.