As Donald Trump stumbles from one self-inflicted wound to the next, that other candidate in the presidential race — the one Trump has been too distracted to engage with very much — has also been out on the campaign trail, garnering much less attention as she relentlessly focuses on selling her message.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been doing a lot of skating — right through some notable mishaps that could have caused serious damage if she were running against a more disciplined opponent.
A week that might otherwise have been difficult for Clinton is turning into one of the best of her campaign, as her Republican rival’s troubles eclipse her own, enabling her to hit the stump unfettered, staying on message and on task in events in one hotly contested state after another, with the national polls moving in her favor.
Donald Trump’s relations with the Republican Party – and his political fortunes – worsened dramatically Wednesday, as party leaders fretted openly about the inability of his campaign staff to control him and even began to discuss what to do if their unpredictable nominee suddenly quit the race.
“A sense of panic is rising” among GOP elected officials and operatives, said Ed Rogers, a former Republican White House official.
“Serious, senior lawyers” have begun researching how the rules would work if the party had to replace Trump on the ticket, a senior GOP figure in Washington with close ties to the party hierarchy confirmed.
Debora Matthews, a 64-year-old Republican, loaded plastic grocery bags into her sport utility vehicle one day this week, down the road from where Donald Trump was entertaining a crowd at a high school auditorium. Matthews shook her head in disgust at the campaign, unable to help her 18-year-old daughter figure out whom to vote for and considering a Democrat for president for the first time in her own life.
“His mouth is digging a hole for himself that he’s falling into,” Matthews said of Trump. “It’s kind of scary.… You can’t be that way when you’re handling the lives of the people in our country.”
If Trump recovers from one of his worst weeks as a candidate, he will need to cement, rather than repel, voters like Matthews in swing states like Virginia.
Donald Trump told supporters at a Florida town hall that Islamic State should give Hillary Clinton an award as a founder of the group, criticizing her tenure as secretary of State for creating the conditions that have allowed the terrorist group to thrive.
Trump goes on a riff about ISIS mentions Orlando, San Bernardino and the WTC
Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida that his presidential campaign has "never been so united." The Republican presidential nominee's declaration comes after reports surfaced that campaign chairman Paul Manafort has lost control of Trump and that the campaign is in turmoil.
TRUMP: "The campaign is doing really well. It’s never been so well united. Right now it’s the best in terms of being united since we began."