UPDATE: As Politico reports, Trump’s schedule changes are directly related to his new campaign team:
The new approach, which includes visits to Florida and Nevada, appears to have the fingerprints of Kellyanne Conway, a respected Republican pollster who was elevated last week to the role of campaign manager and who has been credited for Trump’s toned-down approach in recent days.
Asked on Tuesday why the campaign decided to nix Trump’s speech on immigration previously slated for Thursday in Colorado, Conway suggested it as a vestige of the old regime.
“You know, we inherited this schedule and although I think it’s a great idea to have that kind of speech and certainly put together a full plan, immigration is such a complex issue and Mr. Trump has been taking the counsel of many different people on this,” Conway told Fox News. “He obviously has some very strong feelings and policy prescription with respect to immigration, but he’s speaking to people to understand how to execute on those ideas.”
USA TODAY’s Eliza Collins reports on the recent spate of event cancellations by embattled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump–including an event in Denver on Thursday where Trump was set to discuss (sorry, Rep. Mike Coffman) immigration policy:
On Monday, outlets in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon reported that Trump events set to go on in their states were canceled, though in Nevada and Colorado, Trump is still slated to attend fundraisers.
Trump was originally scheduled to make a speech on immigration in Denver on Thursday, but according to The Denver Post the speech has been postponed. The campaign said that his speech was “still being modified.” Trump will, however, attend a fundraiser in Aspen, according to the Post…
Both Colorado and Nevada are battleground states where Hillary Clinton leads in recent polling. However, a Suffolk University poll last week had her lead within the margin of error in Nevada.
The Wall Street Journal had a good piece last week explaining what the latest staff shakeups and now public appearance cutbacks mean for Trump: damage control before he loses even more Republican support. If he’s hiding in Aspen with Larry Mizel, he’s not outraging the majority of Americans:
Donald Trump’s overhaul of his campaign staff, his second shake-up in two months, is being welcomed by Republicans who want a dramatic change in the candidate’s faltering trajectory. But many are worried about the kind of change it will bring and about whether the campaign will be able to recover the ground Mr. Trump has lost in recent weeks…
Some allies of Mr. Trump say the problem isn’t his top staffers; it’s the nominee himself and his performance on the stump. Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, had said repeatedly that Mr. Trump was transitioning into a more disciplined candidate, only to see him go off-script.
Some Republicans see Labor Day, the traditional starting line for the last sprint to the general election, as a kind of deadline for Mr. Trump.
Trump’s free-wheeling speeches at public campaign events are a major part of his historic energizing of the right-wing GOP grassroots–which enabled him to power right past the helpless Republican establishment and seize the nomination in essentially a hostile takeover of the party. At the same time, Trump’s unscripted, frequently juvenile, and almost always hotly controversial words on the stump may well be setting the Republican Party up for its greatest landslide defeat in generations.
In terms of actually making Donald Trump competitive in this year’s presidential election, we’d say it’s much too late for that. But muzzling Trump before Labor Day could be one of the only damage control options left that might help salvage races down the ballot.
Assuming Trump can stay muzzled, which we’re inclined to doubt.