Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s immigration “flip flop” of last week is already meeting with a large backlash from Republican supporters and the public at large as his campaign does damage control by denying that the candidate ever changed his policies. At the same time, Donald has finally found a poll that shows him in the lead.
It was what made him a star presidential candidate and allowed Trump to leap out in front of the crowded field of almost 20 candidates in this year’s Republican presidential primaries. Whereas Democrats accused the businessman of racism, his pledge to expel all illegal immigrants and to build a wall along the border with Mexico – and to also make that nation pay for it – was music to the ears of most Republicans. This in spite of the fact that two of the past three Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, put forward immigration reform proposals that offered amnesty to long-term illegal residents and a chance to acquire American citizenship.
Mr. Trump has based his entire campaign on his straightforward demeanor and his claim that he “tells it like it is.” But the candidate has been floundering in the polls and has been forced to shake up his top campaign staff in the last few weeks. So the question that everyone is asking now is how exactly Mr. Trump’s new campaign managers will change the way in which the candidate sells himself to the public.
Will Trump soften some of his positions, or will he just stop being so critical and biting all of the time of other people? Over the weekend, it seemed that he might very well be ready to do the former with his most important political platform – maybe.
But on Saturday, as the Inquisitr reported, Mr. Trump backtracked and told Hispanic leaders that he would not automatically deport illegals and that he would attempt to find a more human way to deal with the problem. Or did he?
His senior staffers, however, hit the airwaves to deny that Trump said any such thing. And this morning, Mr. Trump appeared on Fox News himself to state categorically that he is “not flip-flopping.” The Republican candidate explained that he wants “to come up with a fair but firm process. Fair but firm.”
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was desperate to deny that her boss was reversing his immigration policies in any way. She stressed that the candidate merely attempted to assure people that his policy was, in fact, a humane one and that people would not be mistreated.
“So what Donald Trump said yesterday in that meeting varied little from what he has said publicly. What he supports is to make sure we enforce the law, that we are respectful of those Americans who are looking for jobs, and that we are fair and humane to those who live among us.”
Conway added that Mr. Trump will make the specifics of his plan to deal with undocumented workers clearer in the coming weeks. But with only 11 weeks to go until Election Day, there may not be enough time left for the campaign to set the record straight on such an important issue.
Alabama Senator and staunch Trump supporter Jim Sessions also tried to do damage control for his man while talking to CBS News, saying that he was certain “that he [Trump] did not make a firm commitment yesterday [Saturday]. But he is absolutely committed to the first thing that has to be done, and that’s end the lawlessness to protect Americans from danger.”
Former Puerto Rico attorney general and Trump supporter Jose Fuentes was actually at the meeting with the candidate. He explained to CNN that Donald Trump wished to hear from Latinos. Fuentes described Trump as having been sincere and said that the candidate was willing to listen to the ideas of others.
Hillary Clinton’s camp was not in any way impressed by the Trump reversal — or non-reversal with a promise to be humane.
Campaign chair John Podesta released a statement, saying, “Donald Trump’s immigration plan remains the same as it’s always been: tear apart families and deport 16 million people from the United States.”
In what may be an effort to deflect attention from this and all the bad press, the Republican nominee has brought attention to one poll that actually shows him in the lead right now.
Mr. Trump tweeted the following post of a Los Angeles Times poll that shows him with a slight edge over Hillary Clinton as part of his effort to dismiss all of the polls which show Hillary leading.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2016
But the Washington Post is far from impressed by this poll from its rival on the other side of the country. That paper attempted to explain why the Los Angeles Times/USC poll has consistently given Trump a 2 percent lead over Hillary Clinton since the beginning of July.
Apparently, this poll is not random, and it rates the same group of 3,200 participants over a period of time. Only about one in seven of the group are actually asked questions on a given day. And they are also asked questions based on who they voted for in 2012 in an effort to see if former Obama and Romney voters have switched parties. The Post explains why the fallibility of memory may skew the poll’s results.
But Mr. Trump needs to grab onto any bright spot he can these days.
The Republican presidential nominee is now trying to draw more attention to the Clinton Foundation’s links to foreign powers. He tweeted a link to a posting on his official Facebook page where he calls on the Clintons to shut the foundation down entirely instead of just refusing foreign donations as they have promised to do.
Was there really a Donald Trump immigration flip-flop, and does it really matter? The only thing that matters in a presidential race is public perception, and we will only know how the last few days affected the feelings of the voters when the new polls are released at the end of the week.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]