Don’t look now, but Donald Trump just had his best week on the campaign trail. It was not flawless, but it was…if we’re grading on the same curve everyone grades Hillary Clinton on… Presidential.
First, let’s get the flaws out of the way. He gave two very big speeches this past week. The first one few remember because it came the night before his massive campaign shakeup. Steve Bannon came in and Kellyanne Conway got promoted as Paul Manafort got demoted.
Then, on Thursday night, Trump offered up a mild apology for hurtful remarks he had made on the campaign trail. Unlike his Tuesday speech being overshadowed by the next day’s staff shakeup, this speech did not get completely overshadowed by Paul Manafort resigning.
Now, on to the big deals.
Trump and Mike Pence went to Louisiana. They looked like the Presidential team. Hillary Clinton was no where to be seen and the actual President was only seen on the golf course. The President of the United States was forced to play catch up to the Republican presidential ticket. That is no small thing, even with the media covering for the President. More surprising, Trump did not then step on himself thereby giving the media a reason to ignore that trip.
Then Trump gave a hard charging speech on race relations and hilarity ensued when CNN equated black voters with felons. Trump’s speech made the case for black voters voting for the GOP. He also denounced voting rights for felons. CNN equated the two with the headline: “Trump wants GOP to court black voters — then slams voting rights for felons.” The implication there is that CNN views felons and black voters as necessarily linked.
That headline went straight back to Trump’s point that Democrats and the media just take black voters for granted.
On top of all that, the media leaked that Trump is now preparing to pivot on immigration and not deport the 11 million illegals in the country. Even Senator Jeff Sessions, an immigration hardliner, began the walk back on the Sunday shows. That pivot does a lot to reassure the Chamber of Commerce types and GOP leaders. Trump, it seems, finally understands he is not going to lose his base and can now make necessary pivots.
It was a very good week for Donald Trump. It reassured a lot of his supporters and a lot of Republican leaders. He forced President Obama to play catch up and caught Hillary Clinton flat footed. But can he keep it up for eighty more days? Doubtful.