Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been facing more heat than usual these past few weeks which might be a reason why he has been changing his tone to a more moderate one. On Thursday, he said he regretted some of the things he has said in the past; a statement that came as a surprise to many. His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, resigned on Friday which caused many to question the strength and cohesion of the Trump campaign. In a possible attempt to deviate all the negative press coverage he’s been getting, Trump has been trying to change the negative perception that many have of him into a more positive one. This became more authentic to some when he visited flood-stricken Louisiana.
The Trump campaign has been experiencing quite some changes for a while now, with the most recent one coming with the resignation of campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The Trump campaign underwent a reshuffle earlier this week, promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager and hiring Steve Bannon, the chief executive of Breitbart, as CEO of the campaign. Manafort was recently accused by Ukrainian authorities of accepting off-book payments from former Ukrainian president Viktor Yankovich’s political party. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook commented on this development by saying that Manafort’s resignation was a “clear admission that the disturbing connections between Donald Trump’s team and pro-Kremlin elements in Russia and Ukraine are untenable”.
On a more positive note, Trump visited Louisiana on Friday because he felt it was important to see for himself what destruction the heavy floods have caused and what he could do to help the people there. These floods have been the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy hit four years ago. The floods will cost the state at least $30 million and thousands of people are now living in shelters. Trump visited some areas that were hit the hardest and went to the emergency operations centre in St. Amant, where he met with members of the National Guard and local officials. The Trump campaign insisted that he wasn’t doing this for a photo-op or to get more votes but that this trip was non-political and solely to help those in need.
This Louisiana trip is the second major “kind” thing that Trump has done this week. On Thursday, Trump gave an unusual speech in North Carolina in which he expressed regret for some of the things he has said in the past. This comes as a major shock to many as Trump has repeatedly said during previous interviews that he does not regret anything he has said or done and he never saw any reason to apologise for anything, no matter how controversial his claims may have been. “Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing,” Mr Trump said on Thursday. “I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.” These statements are probably not enough to sway many voters but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Trump also tried to reach out to African Americans at this same rally by saying that the Democratic Party has failed them and asking them what they have to lose by trying something new. Trump has been trying to win African American votes mainly by promising them better job opportunities under his presidency. He criticised the Democrats by accusing them of taking the African American vote for granted because they have gotten too used to having their support and have consequently not felt enough pressure to produce results for them.
It’s still too soon to tell if Trump’s new tone will substantially help him in the polls against Clinton, but a more moderate approach will definitely appeal to a broader audience. If he can continue with this new method it could significantly help him in the coming debates. There are still many undecided voters and swing states that the Trump campaign is hoping to get on their side before November 8. The coming weeks will be crucial for the Trump campaign as election day nears and Hillary Clinton still tops him in practically every poll that has come out the past two weeks. However, polls aren’t everything. If Trump performs well in the debates and manages to sway undecided voters by using a more moderate choice of words, he may well be able to turn things around in his favour.