Orlando: In a rare show of humility by the boastful billionaire, Donald Trump is acknowledging that his presidential campaign faces challenges and could ultimately fall short. The Republican presidential nominee is straying from his signature bravado as he campaigns in the battleground state of Florida, even telling a gathering of evangelical ministers yesterday he’s “having a tremendous problem in Utah.” The same day, the reality show star acknowledged that his lack of political correctness could cost him the election if Americans reject his blunt approach.
“We’re having a problem,” Trump told the ministers, adding that the next president could get to nominate up to five high-court justices. “It could cost us the Supreme Court.”
After trouncing 16 challengers in the Republican primary, Trump is encountering worrying signs as his campaign moves into the general election. Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump in national polls has widened in recent days, while a growing number of fellow Republicans have declared they won’t support their own party’s nominee.
Trump’s exercise in self-awareness is a marked departure from his usual tenor on the campaign trail, where for months at rallies he would tick through poll numbers showing him winning as if they were sports scores of his favorite team. “We’re going to win so big,” Trump told a roaring crowd one month ago at the Republican National Convention.
Yet yesterday, Trump was reduced to citing a poll that actually showed him a few points behind Clinton and arguing the race between them was close. Asked how he planned to reverse Clinton’s advantage, Trump said he simply planned to do “the same thing I’m doing right now.”
“At the end, it’s either going to work, or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation,” Trump told CNBC.
Even while working to restore confidence in his campaign, Trump appeared to court controversy anew when he said that he was open to trying Americans suspected of terrorism at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. Asked specifically about U.S. citizens, Trump said he didn’t like that President Barack Obama and others wanted to try them in traditional courts rather than military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.
“I would say they could be tried there,” Trump said. “That’ll be fine.” In Utah, typically a reliably Republican state, Trump’s challenges have been particularly striking. The state’s large Mormon population has voiced serious skepticism about Trump, though the state’s GOP governor has endorsed him.