He took heat for sniping at Elizabeth Warren on Twitter this morning when he could have and should have been highlighting the latest example of sleazy Clinton influence peddling, this time with national security implications. He was biding his time, though, until this afternoon’s speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Skip to 11:30 of the clip below for around five minutes of Clinton attacks, including one on Clinton Foundation donor Rajiv Fernando’s mysterious appointment to the International Security Advisory Board. A speech making the case against Hillary at length is set for Monday. Is this launch day for the new and improved, more disciplined Trump? Even Hugh Hewitt, who called for a coup at the convention just a few days ago, was impressed:
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) June 10, 2016
His performance here is really all he needs to do to calm the jitters about him among the GOP leadership. Rely more heavily on prepared remarks in public appearances, as McConnell recommended, and reserve any criticism for Democrats. Stay away from mentions of race, which do him no good at this point; anyone who might potentially vote for Trump because he’s “politically incorrect” is already aboard the Trump train. And spend some time shmoozing party donors to help make up the difference financially with the other party, especially in downballot races. (He’s already begun to do that.) Those three things, all of which would be second nature to other pols, will quell any rebellion at the convention that’s brewing against him. And then, once he’s nominated, he can chuck the playbook and do hour-long rambling addresses about Hillary’s “cankles” and whether Ted Cruz is the Zodiac killer and whatever else he wants to talk about. He needs six weeks of discipline, that’s it. Once the convention is over, it’s his show until November. If he can’t manage that because he simply can’t focus his rhetoric for more than a day or two even when his chances at becoming president are on the line then you really should think hard about whether to give him the keys to the party in Cleveland.
Jonathan Tobin makes a good point: If the #NeverTrump movement ends up with any kind of legacy, it may be that it scared Trump enough to get him to behave. For awhile.
It could be that for the next few weeks until the convention in Cleveland, Trump will behave himself, or at least refrain from giving the Democrats even more material with which they can brand him as unfit for the office he seeks. Trump is sufficiently interested in having a coronation show that won’t be spoiled by GOP rebels that he may actually spend this time at least pretending to unify his party.
That’s why, for all of the opprobrium, Trumpsters are directing at the dump Trump crowd this week, they should actually be grateful for their threats. Once the possibility of having the nomination stolen from him is passed, the only thing holding back Trump from even more egregious conduct will be his conscience and good judgment. Which is to say, absolutely nothing.
Who knows? Maybe a more disciplined Trump will gain on Clinton in the polls, which will convince him to stick with the disciplined approach after the convention. That seems … possible? I guess?
By the way, while Trump was addressing evangelicals today, Hillary was making her first big speech as presumptive nominee to — who else? — Planned Parenthood. Her choice might not bother Trump but I’ll bet it bothered his socially conservative audience, which will further help him unify the party.