Donald Trump: ‘The Shackles Are Off’

As Republicans continue to desert his foundering campaign, Donald Trump has unleashed a broadside against his own party. Yesterday Paul Ryan announced that he would no longer defend Trump. Today, Trump tweeted attacks at Ryan and announced a new direction for the campaign.

CNBC preserves the tweets, which accuse Ryan of giving him “zero support” and call Speaker Ryan “our very weak and ineffective leader.” Trump also accused Republicans of being disloyal and “more difficult than Crooked Hillary.”

Trump also tweeted a change in strategy for his campaign. “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,” he wrote. This seems to signal his intent to revert back to his behavior during the Republican primary.

After he won the primary, many Republicans pushed Trump to act more presidential and restrain himself from the insults of the primary. Then-campaign manager Paul Manafort told the Washington Post in April, “He gets it. The part that he’s been playing is now evolving into the part that you’ve been expecting. The negatives will come down, the image is going to change, but ‘Crooked Hillary’ is still going to be ‘Crooked Hillary.’”

After the Republican convention in July, it did appear that he tried to control himself. Although he did make missteps, there were fewer outlandish statements and Trump climbed in the polls until he was in a dead heat with Hillary Clinton.

Now it seems that Mr. Trump is reverting back to his old, uncontrolled, off-the-cuff, Twitter-ranting self. This is the strategy that made him the most unpopular presidential candidate in history.

The change signals the death spiral of the Trump campaign. Trump’s tweets also suggest that he is likely to bring the GOP down with him.

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David Thornton

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