Trump says ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’

In his first campaign stop after Hillary Clinton formally accepted the Democratic nomination, Trump went on a greatest hits tour, revisiting the headlines of 2015.

The Republican nominee, during an event in Colorado Springs, re-litigated controversies involving Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, his mockery of a reporter with a disability and his false claim that Muslims celebrated September 11.

Despite his lascivious past, Trump has been polling surprisingly well with evangelical Christians, so his campaign stop in Colorado Springs – arguably the evangelical capital of the US – played more as a rallying of the base than an appeal to undecided voters. The 1,250-capacity room he appeared at could only hold a fraction of those who began queuing seven hours early for the event, the endless line stretching throughout the University of Colorado campus. Most were turned away, with Trump railing against the fire marshal for not letting more of them inside, using the dilemma as an allegory for what’s wrong with America.

In his free-jazz speaking style, Trump criss-crossed his way through a number of topics, doubling down on the violent threat of refugees and immigrants, insisting his RNC speech was “wasn’t dark” but “optimistic,” and that Bernie Sanders “sold his soul to the devil”.

Trump defended his discredited statement that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City celebrated the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center by dancing in the streets. He also insisted he did not deride Serge Kovaleski, a reporter at the New York Times who disputed his claims, in a November campaign stop. “I didn’t know he was disabled. I started imitating somebody that was groveling,” said Trump on Friday. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.

It is absolutely unprecedented for a political candidate to go back over all the gaffes and controversies during his campaign.  Not a single backward step – just dialing down some of the Media party spin and reinforcing all the messages – no matter how extreme.

Once Trump arrived, he launched into a critique of Clinton’s DNC acceptance speech, claiming she painted too “rosy dory” a picture of the US in its current state. “We’ve had more police shootings over the last year, I mean, nobody’s ever seen anything like what’s going on.” While it’s true that police killings have risen in the past year, they are lower than in previous decades.

Trump also hammered Clinton for her intention of accepting more refugees from the Middle East into the US.

“The people coming in from Syria, we have no idea who they are. Remember, they cut the heads off people, they drown people in steel cages.”

Trump’s Denver speech was given while he stood before an enormous B-1 bomber plane, an aircraft known primarily for hosting nuclear weapons, which was an apt dynamic considering Clinton’s statement the night before that “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

The Clinton campaign hasn’t figured out yet that Trump tries to do the unexpected.  Tell him he can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons, and he ups the ante by standing in front of a B1.   But someone who habitually rises to bait can be controlled.  He can be driven to taking positions simply because he is goaded that he won’t.  Let’s see if the Clinton campaign have the skills to drive Trump into a corner before November.


– The Guardian

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