Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus likes what he is seeing from Donald Trump one week after the nominee’s campaign shakeup — so much so that he predicted the GOP standard-bearer would be tied or ahead of Hillary Clinton after Labor Day.
The fingerprints of both CEO Stephen Bannon and Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway are visible in Trump’s messaging this week, from his call for a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation in the wake of new email revelations to his backing away from his earlier calls for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants.
“It’s going to be important for us and for Donald Trump to continue down this measured path that he’s on, and if he does that I think he’s going to be tied or ahead at or just after Labor Day,” Priebus told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.
But that measured path requires heavy footwork by the campaign in reconciling Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration, for example, with a more moderate general election message: Trump is now drawing attention to himself by “softening” his stance on a cornerstone issue in his campaign — an evolution that could invite criticism from multiple angles. During a town-hall-style interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Tuesday night, Trump said of deportation proceedings, “There certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people.”
Editor’s note: The gauntlet has been thrown: Trump either passes or ties Clinton by Labor Day or it’s just more Trump campaign hyperbole. Can Trump stop being Trump long enough to make it happen? Let’s hope not.