100 days of Donald Trump – Politico
In April, a few weeks before Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, he stood on a stage in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and made a bold prediction. “At some point, I’m going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored,” he said. “And I’ll come back as a presidential person.”
The remark raised a challenging question about a candidate who had shattered so many of the supposed rules of politics en route to the nomination: How would President Trump behave in the White House?
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To answer that, POLITICO decided to track Trump’s every move for his first 100 days as presumptive Republican nominee. Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “first 100 days” has been a cornerstone measurement of American presidents. The aim was simple: To capture a snapshot of how this unconventional candidate who has strained the boundaries of American political discourse is evolving, and not evolving, as he seeks the nation’s highest office.
Amid the torrent of Trump that followed, there were recurring themes: staff turmoil and turnover, talk of resets followed by relapses, Trump attacking Republicans, Republicans distancing themselves from Trump, missed opportunities, flirtations with Russia, and uncomfortable associations with white nationalism. For much of the time, Trump lurched from controversy to controversy, lighting a new one as the final embers of the last burned low.
He tweeted every single day, sending more than 1,000 140-character missives, often driving news cycles, sometimes for days.
The longest-running storyline was the awkward political embrace with Speaker Paul Ryan, the self-styled ideas man for a party whose ideas Trump ran against. There was the initial snub (Day 3), the eventual endorsement (Day 31) and then 10 weeks of distancing and denunciations (Days 32, 36, 43, 45, 64 (twice), 80, 86, 90, 91, 94).
What also emerges from this 100-day review is a Trump outlook less tethered to the traditional left-right ideological spectrum and more to his binary view of winners and losers, the weak and the strong. He praises foreign strongmen like Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin, and casts as weak his political opponents. It’s one of the reasons Trump seems never to back down, no matter the cost to himself, dragging out controversies around a judge’s ethnic heritage (Days 32-36), the use of a Jewish star atop a pile of money (Days 61-65), and his feud with the Muslim-American family of a fallen U.S. soldier (Days 87-92).
Those three episodes alone consumed 15 percent of his days.
But as much news as Trump made, much of Trump’s 100 days is a tale of time squandered: the three weeks before holding his first fundraiser, the 39 days before a swing-state tour, the 50 days before his first email solicitation for money. “Usually campaigns don’t even start until September,” said Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman, on Day 94. Trump has still not aired a general election ad.
Indeed, perhaps the most difficult missteps to measure are Trump’s neglected opportunities. He essentially ignored an inspector general’s report critical of Clinton (Day 23), stomped on the Labor Department’s worst jobs report in six years (Day 32) and posted that controversial Jewish star the same day Clinton sat down to be interviewed by the FBI (Day 61).
By far, though, the hardest part of tracking Donald Trump is simply keeping up.
Day 1: Tuesday, May 3
It’s election day in Indiana. Trump begins by alleging that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin shortly before he killed the president. There is no evidence for this claim, other than a National Enquirer story. Cruz responds that Trump is a “pathological liar” and a “narcissist.”
Trump wins the Indiana primary by 16.6 percentage points. He celebrates at Trump Tower in New York, where he launched his campaign 11 months earlier. Cruz drops out. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweets that Trump will be the GOP’s “presumptive nominee.”
“It is a beautiful thing to watch, and a beautiful thing to behold,” Trump says in his victory speech. “We are going to make America great again.”
This is Day One.
Day 2: Wednesday, May 4
Trump calls into the morning shows. “Do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund?” Trump muses on MSNBC. “I don’t know that I want to do that.” He talks about fundraising instead of self-funding his campaign. It is the first of many reversals he’ll make now that he is the nominee.
After opposing a minimum-wage hike in the primaries, he declares on CNN, “I am open to doing something with it.” He says that makes him “very different from most Republicans.” “You have to have something that you can live on,” he says.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Trump’s final opponent, drops out. Trump floats Kasich as VP. “I’d be interested in vetting John,” Trump tells Wolf Blitzer.
Still, there is some early resistance within the GOP to Trump’s rise. “There are dumpster fires in my town more popular than these two ‘leaders,’ ” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska writes on Facebook in a widely circulated post, about Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Day 3: Thursday, May 5
It is Cinco de Mayo. Trump celebrates by posting a photo of himself eating a taco bowl. “I love Hispanics,” he writes.
Trump announces a new finance chairman, a former Goldman Sachs executive who previously donated to Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. Trump had previously attacked his opponents for their Goldman Sachs ties, including Cruz. “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton,” he had said.
Trump holds his first rally as presumptive nominee in West Virginia. “You’ve been hearing me say it’s a rigged system,” Trump says of the primaries. “But now I don’t say it anymore because I won.” West Virginia’s primary is next week; it is not a general-election swing state.
Speaker Paul Ryan declines to endorse Trump, saying he is “not ready” on CNN. “What a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a standard-bearer that bears our standards,” Ryan says. Trump does not take kindly to the snub. “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” he replies. Trump calls Priebus minutes after Ryan’s remarks to complain.
Party unity appears far off.
Day 4: Friday, May 6
Trump says he is surprised by Ryan’s refusal to endorse him. “With billions of people coming into the party, obviously I’m saying the right thing,” he says on “Fox and Friends.” The U.S. population is a little more than 300 million.
Trump, who on Wednesday had said “I’m the king of debt,” suggests on CNBC he is open to negotiating with creditors to pay less on the national debt. “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal,” he says, adding, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”
Economists and others express concern about the full faith and credit of the United States.
Trump brings up former President Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances to attack Hillary. “Nobody in this country — and maybe in the history of this country, politically — was worse than Bill Clinton with women. He was a disaster. He was a disaster,” Trump says at a rally in Oregon. He continues: “She’s been the total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives. She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler. What she did to a lot of those women was disgraceful.”
The Ryan-Trump feud continues. “Paul Ryan said that I inherited something very special, the Republican Party. Wrong, I didn’t inherit it, I won it with millions of voters!” Trump tweets. Ryan and Trump agree to meet the following week.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he isn’t backing Trump because he lacks the “temperament or strength of character” to be president. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says he isn’t supporting Trump yet, either. Trump attacks both of them.
Priebus, asked at a POLITICO Playbook event if the GOP is now Trump’s party, says no. “It’s the party’s party,” he says cryptically.
It is not exactly clear what he means.
Day 5: Saturday, May 7
Mitt Romney delivers a commencement address. He warns of “demagogues on the right and the left draw upon our darker angels, scapegoating immigrants and Muslims or bankers and businesspeople.” He does not mention Trump by name.
Day 6: Sunday, May 8
Trump signals willingness to change his tax plan. “For the wealthy, I think, frankly, it’s going to go up. And you know what, it really should go up,” he says on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’ll tell you what the real concept is,” he confides on ABC. “Lower taxes for business, lower taxes for the middle class, lower taxes for everybody and then we’re going to start negotiating” with Democrats. Of rates for the rich, he says, “In my plan they’re going down, but by the time it’s negotiated, they’ll go up.”
Trump expands on his change of heart on the minimum wage. “Sure it’s a change. I’m allowed to change. You need flexibility,” he says on ABC. On NBC: “I don’t know how people make it on $7.25 an hour.”
Trump dismisses the need for party unity. “I think it would be better if it were unified, I think it would be — there would be something good about it. But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense.” And he resists hewing to conservative orthodoxy. “Don’t forget, this is called the Republican Party. It’s not called the Conservative Party,” he says.
Sarah Palin, a prominent Trump backer, says on CNN that “Paul Ryan is soon to be Cantored,” a reference to the defeated former House leader.
Day 7: Monday, May 9
Trump begins his day by dialing into CNN and Fox Business. He does not appear on MSNBC, instead tweeting, “Wow, I hear @Morning_Joe has gone really hostile ever since I said I won’t do or watch the show anymore. They misrepresent my positions!”
On CNN, Trump tries to clarify his earlier remarks about debt, saying, “First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I tell you, OK? So there’s never a default.” Still, he says, “if there’s a chance to buy back debt at a discount” he would.
He speaks about Bill Clinton again. “He was impeached! He was impeached! And then he lied about it. He said, nothing happened with Monica Lewinsky, and then he said, sorry folks, it actually did happen. And the guy was impeached for lying.”
“She can’t talk about me because nobody respects women more than Donald Trump, and I will be better for women by a big factor than Hillary Clinton, who frankly, I don’t even think will be good to women,” Trump concludes.
Trump’s political team meets at the RNC headquarters.
Day 8: Tuesday, May 10
Trump wins the West Virginia and Nebraska primaries. He carries Nebraska with only 61.4 percent of the vote, despite the fact that all his opponents have dropped out. Trump is revealed to have selected a white nationalist as a delegate from California. They blamed a computer problem. The delegate quickly withdraws his name.
Trump tells the AP that he won’t be releasing his tax returns before November and that he doesn’t plan to run a data-driven campaign. “I’ve always felt it was overrated,” Trump says. “Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me.”
Cruz says he won’t endorse Trump yet. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another of Trump’s former rivals, says he will “support the nominee” but he withdraws his name from the vice presidential sweepstakes. “That’s certainly not me,” Rubio says.
Day 9: Wednesday, May 11
POLITICO reports that Trump has tasked two conservatives, Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore, with rewriting his tax plan. They are looking at raising the top rate from his original plan, which helps explains some of his comments.
In an interview with Don Imus, Trump says he did does not regret his summer of 2015 comment that Arizona Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured. “There are many people that like what I said,” Trump says. “You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up 7 points.”
Trump gives an interview to a newspaper in Israel. It is owned by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson.
Trump unveils a new nickname for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Crazy Bernie.” It immediately begins trending on Twitter. He also bestows a nickname on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.”
Trump says he is going to keep being himself, despite calls to change. “You win the pennant and now you’re in the World Series — you gonna change?” he says to The New York Times. “People like the way I’m doing.”
Day 10: Thursday, May 12
Trump and Ryan meet at RNC headquarters. Protesters circle outside with a coffin, a bagpipe and a shofar. Trump and Ryan issue a joint statement afterward. It doesn’t say much. Ryan does not endorse Trump. “While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground,” the statement says.
Trump also meets with Senate Republicans. Those who attend take photos with Trump, who gives a thumbs up.
Mother Jones reports Trump’s longtime butler posted on Facebook that Obama should be killed and “hung for treason!!!” The Trump campaign disavows the statements. White supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke suggests on Twitter that he should form a ticket with Trump. “It’d be Trump’s best LIFE INSURANCE.The Zio NeoCon Mossad boys would not dare touch him if I was heartbeat from Presidency,” Duke writes.
Day 11: Friday, May 13
The Washington Post posts audio of Trump faking being his own spokesman, John Miller, to speak flatteringly about himself in 1991. Trump denies the voice on the recording that sounds like him is him. “It was not me on the phone,” he says on the “Today” show. “It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone. I’ll tell you that. And it was not me on the phone.”
Later in the day, he appears to hang up on the Post when the reporter asks if he ever employed someone named John Miller.
Trump makes other news on the morning shows. Asked about his tax rate on ABC, he snaps, “It’s none of your business.” On Fox News, he says none of his policy prescriptions are written in stone. “It was a suggestion,” Trump says of his controversial ban on Muslim immigrants. “Look, anything I say right now, I’m not the president. Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it’s a suggestion.”
His spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, meanwhile, says Trump is not rewriting his tax plan, despite asking economists to draft revisions for him.
Sheldon Adelson spent roughly $100 million on the 2012 elections. During the primary, Trump had mocked Adelson, saying he wanted to make Rubio “his perfect little puppet.” Soon after he became the presumptive nominee, Trump had met privately with Adelson and his wife in Manhattan.
Day 12: Saturday, May 14
The New York Times publishes a massive review of Trump’s private interactions with women, from asking them to change into bikinis to kissing them unwantedly on the lips.
Trump tweets a link to a story about Adelson promising to spend $100 million to elect Trump.
Day 13: Sunday, May 15
Trump calls Warren “Pocahontas” for the first time.
He also mocks his former rivals for continuing to give advice. “I love getting advice,” Trump tells New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. “It’s just what I need, just what I need is more advice. The 17 people I beat are still giving me advice.” Of his success, he says: “Don’t analyze it. Just do it. The other players would come up to Babe Ruth and say, ‘Babe, how do you hit the long ball?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know, man. I just hit it.’ There’s a little bit of truth in that.”
Senior adviser Paul Manafort says on CNN that Trump can contest “several New England states,” saying “Connecticut is a possibility.”
As for a Trump “pivot,” Manafort says there wouldn’t be one. “He’s just won the primary process with a record number of votes, beating a field of 16 qualified candidates. So, there’s no reason for Donald Trump to change,” he says.
Day 14: Monday, May 16
The Times article on Trump and women becomes the paper’s most-read online story of the year.
One of the women in the piece says on Fox News that the Times had wrongly “spun” her comments. Trump personally calls the control room of CNN to tell them about it.
Trump holds no public events. He urges Sanders to run as an independent. He attacks The New York Times, bringing more attention to its story. And, in the same tweet, he criticizes what a CNN commentator is saying while claiming not to watch the network.
After months of decrying pollsters, Trump hires pollster Tony Fabrizio.
After months of decrying political fundraising, POLITICO reports Trump is negotiating a joint fundraising committee with the RNC.
Day 15: Tuesday, May 17
Trump has bragged for months about bringing “millions and millions” of new voters to the GOP. POLITICO reports the vast majority aren’t actually new to voting or to the Republican Party, but rather they are reliable past voters in general elections.
Trump outlines his plans to attack Clinton over her husband’s infidelities. “Just getting nasty with Hillary won’t work,” Trump tells the Times. “You really have to get people to look hard at her character, and to get women to ask themselves if Hillary is truly sincere and authentic. Because she has been really ugly in trying to destroy Bill’s mistresses, and she is pandering to women so obviously when she is only interested in getting power.”
Trump tells Reuters he would speak with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in what would be a major shift in American foreign policy. He also approves of renegotiating the Paris climate accord and dismantling the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.
Trump appears on a Megyn Kelly special on Fox. It is their first interview since the first debate. Then, she challenged him on his language toward women — “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs” and “disgusting animals,” she repeated. Now, Kelly asks if anyone has hurt Trump emotionally. “When I am wounded, I go after people hard, OK?” he says. “And I try and un-wound myself.”
Melanie Trump defends her husband. “He’s not Hitler,” she says in an interview with DuJour magazine.
Day 16: Wednesday, May 18
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, adds to the list of things Trump is not. “He’s not a groper,” she says on CBS, “It’s not who he is.”
Trump releases his annual financial disclosure form. It shows he made more money selling the Miss Universe Pageant, $49.3 million, than he spent self-financing his entire primary campaign.
He releases 11 names on his list of potential Supreme Court appointments. Trump then goes on Sean Hannity and says he might not actually select names on the list. “We are going to choose from, most likely, from this list. But, uh, at a minimum, we will keep people within this general realm.”
Hannity and Trump also speak about Bill Clinton’s history with women. “In one case, it’s about exposure. In another case, it’s about groping and fondling and touching against a woman’s will,” Hannity says.
“And rape,” Trump replies.
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Hicks, Trump’s press secretary, are spotted screaming on the streets of Manhattan. “I am done with you!” Hicks says to Lewandowski, according to an account that would appear on Page Six of the New York Post the next day.
Day 17: Thursday, May 19
After previously dodging, Hillary Clinton declares for the first time that Trump is “not qualified” to be president.
Trump holds a fundraiser and a rally in New Jersey with Gov. Chris Christie. “Build a wall,” the crowd chants. “We’re going to make it beautiful and we’re going to make it big,” Trump shouts back.
Bill Weld, former GOP Massachusetts governor, joins the Libertarian Party ticket to run as vice president and says of Trump’s immigration plans, “I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest.”
Day 18: Friday, May 20
Trump is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, during the group’s meeting in Louisville, Ky. He uses a teleprompter to speak to the group. He still wanders off script. “My poll numbers with men are through the roof,” he says. “But I like women more than men. Come on, women, let’s go. Come on.” Trump vows to end gun-free zones. “That wasn’t part of my speech, I must be honest with you,” Trump confesses. The crowd cheers.
Backstage, McConnell asks Trump whether he had a prepared speech. “And he pulled it out of his pocket,” McConnell later recalls in a Bloomberg podcast. “He said, ‘You know I hate scripts, they’re so boring.’ And I said, ‘Put me down in favor of boring.’”
Late in the day, the Washington Post reports that Trump’s January fundraiser for veterans, when he skipped a presidential debate and claimed to have raised $6 million, had raised only $4.5 million. The Post verifies only $3.1 million in donations.
Trump hires Washington lawyer A.B. Culvahouse to vet his potential running mate.
Day 19: Saturday, May 21
Trump makes no significant news. “Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!” he tweets.
Day 20: Sunday, May 22
Trump skips the traditional Sunday shows. He calls into “Fox and Friends.” “I’m gonna pick up big league,” he predicts of his position in the polls. He attacks Clinton for using a teleprompter two days after he used one at the NRA. “She reads off a teleprompter. You notice she’s reading off a teleprompter. She always does. She really doesn’t have her own words,” Trump says.
Trump comes down on both sides of the guns-in-classrooms issue: “I don’t want to have guns in classrooms although in some cases teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly … but I’m not advocating guns in classrooms.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Clinton’s margin over Trump narrowing to 3 points, 46 percent to 43 percent, down from an 11-point edge in April.
“My campaign is not going to let Donald Trump try to normalize himself,” Clinton says on “Meet the Press.” “I’ve said he was unqualified to be president. I believe that deeply.”
Trump tweets Clinton “would be four more years of stupidity.”
Day 21: Monday, May 23
Trump posts an Instagram video featuring a photograph of Bill Clinton chomping on a cigar while women talk about accusations against the former president, including one saying, “No woman should be subjected to it—it was an assault.”
Trump uses one of his favorite rhetorical techniques — apophasis — to suggest foul play in the suicide of former Clinton White House aide Vince Foster, calling his death “very fishy.”
“I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
Trump pushes back on the negative media attention to his veterans fundraiser. “Amazingly, with all of the money I have raised for the vets, I have got nothing but bad publicity from the dishonest and disgusting media,” he tweets late at night.
Trump passes Clinton in the weekly polling average kept by RealClearPolitics for the first time.
Trump meets with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a rumored VP pick, in Trump Tower.
Day 22: Tuesday, May 24
Trump goes on his first campaign swing with a press charter. He flies to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he hosts his first fundraiser as the presumptive nominee, a $10,000 per-person affair.
After Republican Gov. Susana Martinez says she is “too busy” to meet with Trump, he attacks her. “Since 2000, the number of unemployed people in Albuquerque has doubled. Whose fault is it? Is it your fault or is it your government’s fault? Since 2000, the number of people on food stamps in New Mexico has tripled. We have to get your governor to get going, OK? She’s got to do a better job.” He adds: “Your governor has got to do a better job. She’s not doing the job.”
Trump mocks Warren as “Pocahontas” again and says to a protester: “He can’t get a date so he’s doing this instead.” Outside, there are raucous protests.
Day 23: Wednesday, May 25
As Trump calls for party unity, he attacks fellow Republicans. He says Romney “choked liked a dog,” knocks South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, calls writer Bill Kristol a “los-err,” and renews his mocking of Jeb Bush’s energy level. At a stop in Anaheim, Calif., the crowd boos at the mention of Ryan’s name by a Trump surrogate.
Trump also says Romney “walks like a penguin.”
An inspector general’s report is sharply critical of Clinton’s email practices at the State Department, citing “security risks” and that it is “not an appropriate method” for public records.
Trump makes only passing mention of this: “Inspector general’s report: Not good.”
POLITICO reports on the ongoing internal power struggle between Manafort and Lewandowski. “It’s a total cage fight in there now,” an operative close to the campaign says.
Trump ends the day by firing Rick Wiley, his national political director. Wiley had been hired only six weeks earlier. “Rick Wiley was hired on a short-term basis as a consultant until the campaign was running full steam,” the campaign claims in a statement.
Trump attends his first major fundraiser with the RNC in Los Angeles. The campaign says the event raises $6 million. Trump appears on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He says he’d debate Sanders, if proceeds went to charity.
Day 24: Thursday, May 26
Shortly after midnight on the East Coast, Sanders agrees to debate. “Game on,” he writes on Twitter.
AP declares Trump has formally won a majority of delegates, bound and unbound, clinching the nomination. In an event in Montana, Trump offers some insight into his general-election strategy. “What I’m going to do is I want to focus on 15-or-so states” that go “either way.” He includes New York and California on the list.
Trump complains about the Times’ story on women that went online 12 days earlier, saying five times the paper was “discredited.”
Manafort tells the Huffington Post Trump probably would not pick a minority or a woman as his running mate: “In fact, that would be viewed as pandering.” Trump says Manafort was misquoted. “He’s been misquoted actually a lot,” Trump says.
Day 25: Friday, May 27
Trump campaigns in California ahead of the state’s primary. He declares, “There is no drought.” The state recently endured the driest four-year period in its history.
At a rally in San Diego, Trump spends more than 10 minutes attacking the judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University, calling him a “hater” and bringing up his ethnicity. “The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that’s fine.” Trump says. The judge, Gonzalo Curiel, was born in Indiana.
Trump announces he would not, in fact, debate Sanders.
Day 26: Saturday, May 28
The New York Times reports tensions are so high inside Trump’s headquarters that some aides worry the offices are bugged. Trump tweets, “Don’t believe the biased and phony media quoting people who work for my campaign. The only quote that matters is a quote from me!”
Trump responds to Weld’s earlier “Kristallnacht” accusations. “I don’t talk about his alcoholism,” Trump tells the Times, “so why would he talk about my foolishly perceived fascism? There is nobody less of a fascist than Donald Trump.”
Day 27: Sunday, May 29
Trump holds a Lincoln Memorial rally for thousands of motorcyclists. Trump says he expected a bigger crowd. “I thought this would be like Dr. Martin Luther King, where the people would be lined up from here all the way to the Washington Monument,” Trump says.
Lewandowski is asked if Trump’s offices are bugged on Fox. “I think that’s a lot of speculation. I don’t think that’s going on at all.” Manafort is asked the same on ABC. “Do I believe it? No, I don’t believe it,” he says, adding, “But I don’t know who said that.”
Day 28: Monday, May 30
Trump wishes his Twitter followers a happy holiday, “I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day!” Memorial Day is the holiday to remember those who died while serving in the armed forces. Trump renews his attacks on the judge in the pending Trump University case. “Very unfair. An Obama pick. Totally biased-hates Trump,” he tweets.
Day 29: Tuesday, May 31
Trump holds a combative news conference in New York to answer questions about the $6 million he had said he’d raised for veterans groups since January. Trump feigns of the nationally televised event, “I wanted to keep it private because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if I wanna send money to the vets.”
The AP reports some of the checks — including $1 million from Trump’s personal account — were dated May 24, the day the Washington Post had interviewed Trump about the missing donations. “Most of the money went out quite a while ago,” Trump says. “Some of it went out more recently.”
Trump calls one reporter, Jim Acosta, a “real beauty” and another “a sleaze.” Asked if the White House press briefing room would be similar under a President Trump, he says, “Yes, it is. It is going to be like this.”
Meanwhile, unsealed documents in a federal lawsuit against Trump University reveal internal concerns about the legitimacy of the program. “I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme,” wrote a Trump University sales manager.
McConnell calls on Trump to release his tax returns.
Trump goes on Hannity. Trump had congratulated him on his “tremendous increase in television ratings” earlier in the day. Hannity’s first question is for Trump to explain why the media should be ashamed of themselves.
Day 30: Wednesday, June 1
Trump still has not campaigned in a traditional swing state since becoming the presumptive nominee, but he holds a rally in California, whose primary is the next week. “We’re going to work California hard” in the fall, he predicts.
News breaks that the head of Hispanic media relations at the RNC, Ruth Guerra, is resigning because of her discomfort with working to elect Trump. The RNC announces her replacement is Helen Aguirre-Ferré. Aguirre-Ferré deletes old tweets critical of Trump.
The PGA Tour announces it is leaving the Trump National Doral Miami course that had hosted tournament events since 1962 and replacing it with an event in Mexico City. “I hope they have kidnapping insurance,” Trump mocks.
ABC digs up a Trump interview from 1994, when he said, “I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.” He said “that was the single greatest cause of what happened to my marriage with Ivana” because “a softness disappeared” when she went to work. “During this period of time, she became an executive not a wife.” Trump also said in the 1994 clip, “I have days where I think it’s great. And then I have days where, if I come home — and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist – but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”
The Hollywood Reporter asks Trump about “Brexit,” the looming vote for Britain to leave the European Union. “And Brexit? Your position?” the reporter asks. “Huh?” Trump says. “Brexit,” the reporter repeats. “Hmm,” says Trump. Eventually, he says, “I think they should leave.”
Day 31: Thursday, June 2
Ryan endorses Trump.
“It’s no secret that he and I have our differences,” Ryan writes in an op-ed in his hometown paper. “I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”
The disagreements would return the following day.
McConnell, meanwhile, says he wouldn’t draft legislation banning Muslims if Trump becomes president. “I’d say no. I think that’s a really bad idea.” McConnell also criticizes Trump for continuing to attack fellow Republicans. “What he ought to be doing now is trying to unify the party, and I think attacking people once you have won, is a time, if you can, to be gracious and to try to bring the party together,” he says.
Clinton delivers her most blistering anti-Trump speech to date, calling Trump “temperamentally unfit” for the presidency in San Diego. “Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different,” she says, “They are dangerously incoherent.”
In San Jose, California, there are violent protests outside a Trump rally. Anti-Trump protesters egg and punch some Trump supporters. Police in riot gear are dispatched. Inside, Trump’s campaign team and security remove a POLITICO reporter for practicing journalism without permission.
Day 32: Friday, June 3
The Labor Department releases its worst jobs report in almost six years, with 38,000 new jobs in May. It is not a focus for Trump.
Instead, Trump ratchets up his attacks on Judge Curiel, telling the Wall Street Journal he had “an absolute conflict” because “of Mexican heritage.” “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump says.
Ryan, a day after endorsing, distances himself from the nominee, saying the judge comments, already a week old, are “out of left field.” “He clearly says and does things I don’t agree with, and I’ve had to speak up from time to time when that has occurred, and I’ll continue to do that if it’s necessary. I hope it’s not,” Ryan says.
McConnell says he is worried Trump’s rhetoric could push Latinos from the GOP for a generation, as Barry Goldwater did to African-Americans in 1964.
At a rally in California, Trump pointed out a black supporter in the crowd. He declares, “Look at my African-American here!”
Day 33: Saturday, June 4
Trump sits down for an interview with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro. Asked why he referred to Curiel’s ethnicity, Trump says, “Well, because his heritage is Mexican.” When she asks if he needed to dial back his rhetoric, Trump says, “I have to be what I have to be.”
Trump tweets, “Many of the thugs that attacked the peaceful Trump supporters in San Jose were illegals. They burned the American flag and laughed at police.”
Day 34: Sunday, June 5
Trump continues to question the fairness of judges based on ethnicity, saying that it might not be possible for a Muslim judge to rule impartially because of his proposed Muslim ban. “It’s possible, yes. Yeah. That would be possible, absolutely,” he says on CBS.
When CBS’ John Dickerson asks Trump to explain his claims that he opposed intervention in Libya when he spoke in favor of deposing Muammar Qadhafi, Trump justifies, “I was for doing something, but I wasn’t for what you have right now.”
Trump’s allies begin to criticize his comments on Curiel. “This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made and I think it’s inexcusable,” Newt Gingrich says. McConnell is asked three times whether Trump’s attacks are racist; three times he declines to answer.
Prominent Republicans continued to express hope Trump would “evolve” or “change.” “I think that he’s going to have to change,” Corker says on ABC. Priebus tells the Washington Examiner, “I do think Donald Trump understands that his tone and rhetoric is going to have to evolve in regard to how we’re communicating to Hispanics across the country. I think he gets that.”
Trump hires a new national political director, Jim Murphy, a week after firing Wiley.
Day 35: Monday, June 6
Republican denunciations of Trump’s judge attacks accelerate. “It is flat-out wrong,” says Kasich. “Absolutely unacceptable,” says Maine Sen. Susan Collins. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte calls it “offensive and wrong.” Rubio says he was “very disturbed.”
Sasse, the most outspoken GOP senator against Trump, tweets, “Public Service Announcement: Saying someone can’t do a specific job because of his or her race is the literal definition of ‘racism.’ ”
Trump holds a conference call with surrogates and urges them to attack the media asking questions as the real racists. He urges surrogates to dispose of a strategy memo sent by Trump’s own staff. “Take that order and throw it the hell out,” he says. “… That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.” He is referring to his own campaign team.
The Associated Press declares Clinton has won the Democratic nomination. Trump tells Bill O’Reilly he is the real glass-ceiling breaker. “I was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women more than anybody in the construction industry, and my relationship, I think, is going to end up being very good with women.”
Day 36: Tuesday, June 7
Ryan calls Trump’s judge attacks “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He reiterates his endorsement of Trump.
Graham says Trump’s continued challenging of a judge’s objectivity based on his ethnicity is “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy” and that, “if anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it.” He adds, “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.” Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois becomes the first Republican to withdraw his endorsement: “I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for president.”
Trump issues a lengthy statement saying his comments on Curiel had been “misconstrued.” “I do not intend to comment on this matter any further,” he says.
Clinton claims the Democratic nomination in a speech in Brooklyn. “Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone, the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee.”
Trump delivers a subdued election night speech using a teleprompter. “I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never, ever let you down,” he tells his fellow Republicans.
The general election has begun.
Day 37: Wednesday, June 8
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough says Trump is acting like a “racist,” a “bigot” and a “big-league loser.” “Nobody is watching @Morning_Joe anymore. Gone off the deep end – bad ratings. You won’t believe what I am watching now!” Trump tweets in response.
Trump gives a series of interviews in Trump Tower. To Bloomberg, he rejects needing to raise $1 billion. “I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them,” Trump says. He expresses to Time magazine frustration that GOP leaders criticized him for his Curiel comments. “I didn’t think it was necessary. But you know, they have to say what they have to say. I’m a big boy. They have to say what they have to say.”
To Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist, he speaks about repentance. “I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I won’t have to be asking for much forgiveness,” Trump says.
Charles Koch, one of the Republican Party’s biggest financiers, joins in the criticism of Trump. “It’s either racist or it’s stereotyping,” Koch tells USA Today of the Curiel comments. “It’s unacceptable, and it’s taking the country in the wrong direction.” Koch also reveals Trump’s campaign has reached out for a meeting with some of Koch’s political aides.
Clinton’s super PAC releases its second ad attacking Trump. It features him mocking a disabled reported.
Day 38: Thursday, June 9
Obama endorses Clinton. Trump mocks it on Twitter: “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary.”
“Delete your account,” Clinton responds. It is soon her most retweeted tweet ever.
The back-and-forth continues. “How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” Trump replies.
Both Vice President Joe Biden and Warren also endorse Clinton. They both call Trump a “racist.”
Trump meets in New York, at the Four Seasons, with his finance team and Priebus.
Day 39: Friday, June 10
Trump appears at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington, D.C. He speaks with a teleprompter and hews closely to talking points: “Hillary Clinton has jeopardized — totally jeopardized — national security by putting her emails on a private server all to hide her corrupt dealing.”
Romney tells CNN that a Trump presidency could result in “trickle-down racism.” Priebus says he “couldn’t disagree more,” and that it was “time to stop this and unify.”
The Washington Post sends out a breaking news alert with the headline: “Donald Trump: ‘I am the least racist person.’” Trump repeats that line at a rally in Virginia. “And by the way, just so you know, I am the least racist person, the least racist person that you’ve ever seen, the least” Trump says. “I mean, give me a break. But they’re saying, ‘Is Donald Trump a racist?’ I am the least racist person that you’ve ever looked at, believe me.”
It is Trump’s first stop on his first swing-state tour.
Then Trump calls Warren “Pocahontas” multiple times. He also misstates the unemployment rate for black youths.
Day 40: Saturday, June 11
Romney hosts a summit for GOP donors in Park City, Utah. Trump is a major topic. HP CEO Meg Whitman compares Trump to historical demagogues, including Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Trump campaigns in Pennsylvania and Florida. He attacks the Florida’s former governor, Jeb Bush. “I don’t think he’s going to endorse me,” he says. “Who the hell cares?’’ He also calls Warren “Pocahontas” again.
The crowd chants, “Build that wall!” Trump hugs an American flag.
Trump also chides vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection who have refused to endorse him. “I’d like to see the Republican leadership get strong, get sharp, get smart and be cool. We are going to win either way,” Trump says.
Day 41: Sunday, June 12
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
A gunman opens fire after midnight at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people. It is the worst mass shooting in American history. The shooter pledges allegiance to the Islamic State.
Trump quickly takes credit for predicting such attacks. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance,” he tweets. “We must be smart!” His campaign later follows up with a statement, “My deepest sympathy and support goes out to the victims, the wounded, and their families.” Then Trump calls on Obama to resign because he wouldn’t call the attack the result of “radical Islam.”
Trump adds on Twitter of his proposed ban on Muslim immigration: “What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough.”
The attacker was born in New York.
Clinton’s campaign releases her first ad. It features footage of Trump mocking a disabled reporter and saying of a protester at a rally that he’d “like to punch him in the face.”
Day 42: Monday, June 13
This is perhaps the busiest day yet.
Trump and Clinton both call into the morning shows to talk about the Orlando attacks. Trump uses innuendo to imply Obama is not trustworthy on terrorism.
“There’s something going on,” he says ominously.
“We’re led by a man who is a very — look, we’re led by a man that either is, is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump says on Fox News. “And the something else in mind, you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot — they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the ways he acts and can’t even mention the words radical Islamic terrorism. There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable.”
On CNN, Clinton says she would call attacks like the one in Orlando the result of “radical Islamism,” which Trump and other Republicans have long complained is a term neither she nor Obama would say.
“Hillary just broke,” Trump tweets, claiming credit.
Later, again on Fox News, Trump says she still wasn’t saying “radical Islamic terrorism” … “because she’s afraid of President Obama, who’s got a lot of power over her future, frankly, could put her in jail.”
Trump cancels a rally in New Hampshire and shifts a speech attacking Clinton into an address on national security. He stokes fears. “Radical Islam is coming to our shores,” he says. “They’re pouring in and we don’t know what we’re doing.” He reiterates his call for a ban of all Muslim immigrants.
Clinton gives a speech in Ohio on the same topic. She doesn’t name Trump. He is the subtext. “As I look at American history, this has always been a country of ‘we’ not ‘me,’” she says.
Trump declares that he is revoking the press credentials of the “phony” and “dishonest” Washington Post. The paper had reported his earlier comments with the headline, “Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting.”
Trump demands in a Facebook post that Clinton return the $25 million the Clinton Foundation had received over the years from Saudi Arabia. (Clinton had called out the Saudis in her speech for allowing citizens to fund extremist groups.) “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays,” Trump writes. “Hillary must return all money from such countries!”
Trump ends the night on Hannity’s show and thanks him: “I appreciate your support. You’re so — such an amazing guy.”
Day 43: Tuesday, June 14
It is Trump’s birthday. He turns 70. RNC spokesman Sean Spicer ensures it is included in POLITICO Playbook. POLITICO is still banned from Trump events.
Ryan distances himself from the presumptive nominee. Again. “I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest,” Ryan says at a news conference at the RNC headquarters. “I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test, not a religious test.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association condemns Trump’s Post ban: “Any nominee for the highest office in the country must respect the role of a free and adversarial press, not disown the principles of the First Amendment just because he or she does not like the tone or content of their coverage.”
Trump tries to appeal explicitly to gay and lesbian voters following the Orlando shooting. “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” he tweets. Pro-gay rights Republicans are heartened.
Obama delivers a speech challenging Republicans who support Trump. “Do Republican officials actually agree with this? That’s not the America we want,” Obama says. “It doesn’t reflect our democratic ideals.”
At a rally in North Carolina, Trump says of Obama, “He was more angry at me than he was at the shooter, and many people said that.”
More Republicans distance themselves from Trump. “It is not what this country stands for,” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says of his Muslim ban. “I’ve run out of adjectives when it comes to Mr. Trump,” Graham says. “Everything he’s said in the last couple of weeks has been concerning,” says South Dakota Sen. John Thune.
A national Bloomberg poll shows Clinton with a widening 12-point lead, 49 percent to 37 percent; 63 percent of women say they could never support Trump.
Trump goes on Hannity again.
The Democratic National Committee reveals that Russian hackers had infiltrated its computer system and stolen research on Trump.
Day 44: Wednesday, June 15
Trump campaigns in Georgia. He says Russia’s nuclear weapons are “tippy-top,” questions the safety of tents for White House dinners, and says of North Korea’s dictator, “If he came here I’d accept him.” He is dour about America’s future, however, without big changes: “Eventually, it’s not going to survive, just so you understand.”
He also scolds GOP leaders. “Our leaders have to get a lot tougher, and be quiet. Just please be quiet,” Trump says. “Don’t talk. Please, be quiet. Just be quiet.”
A new Washington Post poll shows 70 percent of Americans viewed Trump unfavorably, the highest since he entered the race.
Day 45: Thursday, June 16
It is the one-year anniversary of Trump announcing his campaign. Ryan holds a news conference. He says he doesn’t plan to rescind his Trump endorsement but leaves open the possibility. Ryan does not know how to respond to Trump a day earlier telling critical Republican leaders to “be quiet.”
“You can’t make this up sometimes,” Ryan says.
Kirk says he isn’t supporting Trump because the nominee is “too bigoted and racist” for Illinois. Kasich isn’t endorsing Trump yet, either. “At this point, I just can’t do it,” he says. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton says, “Don’t look for me to endorse anyone in this race probably the rest of the year.”
Trump holds a fundraiser and a rally in Dallas. Priebus attends. Trump floats putting one of the few major donors to his super PAC, Andy Beal, “in charge of China.”
Day 46: Friday, June 17
Trump predicts more terror attacks. “More attacks will follow Orlando,” he tweets. He also begins to acknowledge he is trailing in the polls, saying “I haven’t started yet.” He tweets a poll that shows him narrowly losing, writing “Thank you!”
POLITICO reports that Trump appears not to have paid taxes for two years in the early 1990s. “Welcome to the real estate business,” Trump says.
POLITICO also reports on Trump’s dwindling list of VP prospects. “There are probably some good options for him. The question is: Are there people for whom he is a good option?” says Thune, the No. 3 ranking Senate Republican.
Ed Brookover, Trump’s new liaison to the RNC, tells AP Trump has 30 staffers on the ground nationwide. “There are some holes,” Brookover says. “There are fewer holes than there were.”
Day 47: Saturday, June 18
At a rally in Arizona, Trump brags about his “movement” and all the magazine covers he is on. “I feel like a supermodel except, like, times 10,” Trump says. “OK? It’s true. I’m a supermodel. I’m on the cover of these magazines. I’m on the cover of the biggest magazines … I’ve never seen anything like it. And it’s not about me. I’m like — I’m doing a good job as a messenger. But I’m a messenger.”
Trump also says he wants to win Connecticut in the fall. Before a Nevada rally, Trump meets with the chairman of the Utah Republican Party and tells him he would campaign in his rock-ribbed Republican state in the fall amid polls showing Clinton has a chance there.
At his rally, Trump makes fun of Jeb Bush opposing him. “I love competition like that. I love it,” Trump says.
Day 48: Sunday, June 19
Trump says on CBS that while he hates “the concept of profiling” he is open to profiling American Muslims. “I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump says.
Of the San Bernardino attackers, Trump says, “They had bombs all over their apartment floor, and people saw it, and nobody reported them.” FactCheck.org found, “There is no evidence for Trump’s claim.”
On NBC, Trump says that Clinton is “selling herself to Wall Street.” “I don’t think that we need that money,” Trump says. “I don’t think I need that money frankly. I mean, look what we’re doing right now. This is like a commercial, right?”
Of the general election, Trump adds, “We really haven’t started. We start after the convention.”
It’s Father’s Day. Trump meets with his three adult children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, along with her husband Jared Kushner — at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, the Wall Street Journal would later report. They urge him to toss aside Lewandowski.
Day 49: Monday, June 20
Trump fires Lewandowski. When Lewandowski emerges from Trump’s executive office, he finds security waiting, and they watch as he packs his belongings. Then they escort him out of the building.
Manafort appears to have won the internal tussle for power. “I think Paul is totally in charge,” adviser Barry Bennett says on Fox News.
“It’s time now for a different kind of a campaign.” Trump says on Fox News. Trump has been the presumptive nominee for seven weeks.
Priebus, also on Fox, hails the firing as a good thing. “When you look at the shift from a primary election over to the general election,” Priebus says, “this is the sort of the professionalization that continues the pivot to the presidential. I think it’s a good sign for the campaign.”
New campaign filings show Trump began June with $1.3 million in campaign cash; Clinton had more than $41 million. Trump raised just $3.1 million in May. Clinton raised $28 million.
Moody’s Analytics releases an analysis saying Trump’s economic plans would “significantly” weaken the country, driving the U.S. into a “lengthy recession” with nearly 3.5 million job losses and a 7 percent unemployment rate.
Day 50: Tuesday, June 21
Trump ramps up his fundraising, even as he says on “Fox and Friends,” “I can just spend my own money. I have a lot of cash and I can do like I did with the other — just spend money on myself and go happily along, and I think I win that way.”
Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, hosts a breakfast fundraiser for him. Trump has a dinner fundraiser too, where attendees include billionaire Carl Icahn. Trump sends his first money solicitation to his email list, promising to match the first $2 million donated. The campaign says the goal is reached in less than 12 hours.
Clinton delivers a speech on Trump’s business record. For the first time, Trump’s campaign sends out rapid-response emails to counter her speech.
Trump holds a meeting with evangelical leaders in New York. Eight of them hold a news conference afterward. None of them were ready to fully endorse Trump.
Lewandowski gets booked as a paid CNN commentator, one day after his firing.
Day 51: Wednesday, June 22
Trump wrongly suggests on CBS that recently released campaign finance reports represent a snapshot, not a complete picture. “It only took into account one day,” he says. It counted a full month.
On Fox Business, Trump is asked about the looming “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. “I don’t think anybody should listen to me because I haven’t really focused on it very much,” Trump tells Maria Bartiromo. He will later brag repeatedly about his foresight.
“My inclination would be to get out, because you know, just go it alone,” Trump says. Trump adds that the results of the vote “doesn’t have any effect on me.”
Trump delivers a major anti-Clinton speech in New York. He uses a teleprompter. He calls Clinton “a world-class liar” who has “perfected the politics of personal profit, and even theft” and who “may be the most corrupt politician ever to seek the presidency.”
“She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund,” he says.
“She believes she is entitled to the office. Her campaign slogan is ‘I’m with her.’ You know what my response to that is?” he says. “’I’m with you’ — the American people.”
The speech is well-reviewed.
Trump also makes some unsubstantiated allegations, including that Clinton was “sleeping” during the Benghazi attacks and that “her server was easily hacked by foreign governments.”
Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under GOP presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, endorses Clinton over Trump.
Day 52: Thursday, June 23
Trump struggles to explain what evidence he has that Clinton’s private server had been hacked. “I think I read that and I heard it and somebody that also—” Trump tells NBC’s Lester Holt. “Where?” Holt interrupts as Trump finishes by saying “gave me that information.” Trump replies: “I will report back to you. I’ll give it to you.”
Ad Age reports Trump’s first email blast had a 60 percent spam rate. A new TV ad from a group pushing to unbind Republican delegates at the convention airs an ad. A pro-Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, launches an ad calling Clinton “anti-woman.” Trump announces he is converting his nearly $50 million loan to his campaign into a contribution.
Day 53: Friday, June 24
Britain votes to leave the EU. Stock markets tumble globally. Trump arrives in Scotland to visit two golf courses he owns. Asked about the economic impact of Brexit, Trump references his golf resort: “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly.”
He fully embraces the Brexit, days after saying people should not listen to his opinion on the matter. “Basically, they took back their country,” he says. “That’s a great thing.”
He soon begins fundraising off the Brexit, too. “Voters in the United Kingdom chose to leave the flawed and failing European Union and reassert control over their borders, politics and economy, taking a brave stand for freedom and independence. It’s been dubbed ‘Brexit’ in the media,” Trump writes in an email solicitation. “These voters stood up for their nation — they put the United Kingdom first, and they took their country back. With your help, we’re going to do the exact same thing on Election Day 2016 here in the United States of America.”
Former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announces in an op-ed he is voting for Clinton. “To my Republican friends: I know I’m not alone,” he writes. Longtime conservative columnist George Will says he is leaving the GOP.
Clinton’s super PAC begins reserving $10.5 million in TV ads in Pennsylvania. It will soon be airing ads in nine battleground states. Trump is airing ads in none.
Day 54: Saturday, June 25
Trump visits a second Trump golf course in Scotland. He takes questions from the media as they tour the back nine holes. How he would handle Texas trying to secede from the U.S.? “Texas will never do that because Texas loves me,” Trump says.
Trump and his team offer multiple explanations of his Muslim ban. On the 14th hole, he says he would be OK with Muslim immigrants from somewhere like Scotland. On the 18th, he says “they’re going to be even more severely vetted if it’s one of the terror countries.” His finance chairman tries to clarify, “It is about terrorism and not about religion,” according to a New York Times report. But Trump’s spokeswoman says “nothing’s changed” in Trump’s plans.
Trump has dinner with conservative media mogul and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch. They ride in a golf cart together. Trump is at the wheel.
Day 55: Sunday, June 26
It has been nearly eight weeks since Trump became the presumptive nominee. “The campaign has now transitioned to a new phase,” Manafort says on “Meet the Press.” “We’re now in the general-election mode of the campaign.”
Multiple new polls show Trump losing.
Clinton leads 51 percent to 39 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll; 64 percent say Trump is unqualified to be president. Clinton leads by 5 points in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey. Clinton tops Trump in a series of CBS swing states polls in Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin and North Carolina.
“I think there’s no question that he’s made a number of mistakes over the last few weeks,” McConnell says. “I think they’re beginning to right the ship.” He hedges on whether he considers Trump qualified. He would “leave that to the American people to decide.”
Clinton releases a digital ad showing Trump’s trip to Scotland, splicing in a shot of him golfing. He did not golf on the trip. “Crooked Hillary just took a major ad of me playing golf at Turnberry. Shows me hitting shot, but I never did = lie! Was there to support son,” Trump tweets.
Day 56: Monday, June 27
The Supreme Court issues its most significant abortion-related ruling in two decades. Trump does not comment about it. Trump hires former Ted Cruz aide Jason Miller as a senior communications adviser. Miller deletes old tweets calling Trump #SleazyDonald.
A new poll shows less than half of Republicans, 45 percent, say they are satisfied with Trump as their nominee.
Clinton campaigns with Warren for the first time. She criticized Trump’s trip to Scotland: “He tried to turn a global economic challenge into an infomercial. Imagine Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office the next time America faces a crisis.”
It would later be reported that Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch meet on a tarmac in Arizona. The private-plane summit comes amid an active investigation by Lynch’s department into Hillary Clinton’s email practices.
Trump’s campaign, for apparently the first time, sends a fundraising email using A/B testing for the effectiveness of different subject lines.
Kori Schake, a national security adviser for President George W. Bush, endorses Clinton.
Day 57: Tuesday, June 28
Yet another terrorist attack, this time in Turkey. Will
the world ever realize what is going on? So sad.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2016
The House Benghazi Committee releases its long-awaited report. It contains new details of what went wrong the night four Americans died. Few revelations are directly about Clinton. Clinton’s campaign calls it “partisan.” Trump, in a shift, initially lets the issue play out without comment.
In the afternoon, Trump delivers a major speech inveighing against free trade in Pennsylvania. He rips Clinton and “a leadership class that worships globalism.” He vows to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Later, in Ohio, Trump says TPP was “done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country … It’s a harsh word. It’s a rape of our country.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which usually backs Republicans, rebuts Trump’s speech in real time. One tweet says Trump’s tariffs “would strip us of at least 3.5 million jobs.”
Trump hires former Rand Paul digital director Vincent Harris, POLITICO reports.
There is a bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport that kills dozens. Trump tweets, “Yet another terrorist attack, this time in Turkey. Will the world ever realize what is going on? So sad.”
Day 58: Wednesday, June 29
Trump campaigns in Maine. He hopes to compete for a single electoral vote there. One of his warm-up acts, radio host Howie Carr, mocks Warren by making a “war whoop” at the rally, an unartful reference to Native Americans.
Trump talks about trade. “I’m all for free trade,” he says, then adds moments later, “Free trade is killing us.” He says the U.S. Chamber is “totally controlled by the special interests.”
He continues to talk about his defeated primary foes. “They should never be allowed to run for public office again,” Trump says of those who broke their pledge to endorse him.
As for the general election, Trump brags to the crowd, “I haven’t spent one dollar on a commercial.”
Day 59: Thursday, June 30
It’s true. In the month of June, NBC reports that Clinton and her allies spent $26 million in TV ads in the battleground states. Trump and his allies spent $0. (A Trump super PAC did spend $1.2 million on national cable.) The NRA, meanwhile, announces the first Trump battleground state ad buy, worth $2 million.
Trump campaigns in New Hampshire. A plane flies overhead. “That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack,” he jokes.
Trump parts way with Harris, the digital strategist he had just hired. The Times reports Trump has hired three new pollsters: Kellyanne Conway, Adam Geller and Michael Baselice. After months of decrying pollsters, Trump now has five.
Day 60: Friday, July 1
Trump’s internal staff turmoil continues.
Kevin Kellems, hired less than two weeks ago as director of surrogates, resigns. “While brief, it has been an interesting experience,” he writes in his resignation note. Erica Freeman, who also handled surrogates, also quits. Trump promotes former Florida director Karen Giorno to his national staff.
Trump campaigns in Colorado. It is his first visit since the primaries. “We do have to win Colorado,” Trump says. “I’ll be back a lot, don’t worry about it” But instead of talking about the general election, he talks a lot about the primary, decrying the “rigged system” that led to Cruz winning the state’s delegates.
The veepstakes tryouts continue. Trump meets with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Gingrich tells POLITICO that after decades as a free-trade advocate he is now in line with Trump’s protectionist stance. “I basically agree with Trump’s speech on trade,” Gingrich writes in an email.
Trump comments on the Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch meeting. “Take a look at what happened w/ Bill Clinton. The system is totally rigged. Does anybody really believe that meeting was just a coincidence?” he tweets.
Day 61: Saturday, July 2
Hillary Clinton meets with the FBI for a three-hour interview about her private-email server. Trump still makes the day’s biggest news.
He tweets an image with a six-pointed star, $100 bills, Hillary Clinton’s face and the message “Most corrupt candidate ever!” The anti-Semitic subtext is quickly highlighted on social media. Trump’s team deletes the tweet and replaces the six-pointed star — a Jewish symbol known as the Star of David — with a circle.
The controversy is only beginning.
Day 62: Sunday, July 3
Mic News reports the anti-Clinton image originated on neo-Nazi Web forum called /pol/, with a watermark tied to a Twitter account that had posted anti-Semitic, violent and racist materials. The Twitter account is soon deleted.
Day 63: Monday, July 4
Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2016
Two days later, Trump defends his deleted tweet. He says it wasn’t a Jewish star but a symbol of law enforcement. “Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!” he tweets. Sheriff’s stars typically have circles at the points, and aren’t found on neo-Nazi Web forums.
“These false attacks by Hillary Clinton trying to link the Star of David with a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior, (showing an inscription that says “Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever”) with anti-Semitism is ridiculous,” Trump’s campaign says in a written statement.
Trump meets privately with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst in New Jersey, another VP sweepstakes meeting. Priebus and Manafort attend. Trump tweets positively about Ernst afterward.
Day 64: Tuesday, July 5
Former KKK leader David Duke says that Trump’s tweet was “absolutely correct” and that it depicted the Star of David.
Ryan begins the day criticizing Trump’s tweet. “He’s got to clean this up,” the speaker says.
Big news follows: FBI Director James Comey says he will not recommend indicting Clinton for her private email server. Comey says she was “extremely careless” with classified information. He debunks much of her claims about her private server, including that she didn’t traffic in classified materials. Still, Comey concludes, “No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Hours later, Clinton campaigns with Obama for the first time.
“No charges. Wow!” Trump tweets. He says repeatedly the “whole system is rigged.”
Trump holds a rally in North Carolina. He continues his VP auditions, this time with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker. At the rally, Trump praises Saddam Hussein, saying he “didn’t read them the rights” before killing terrorists. “He did that so good,” Trump says.
Hussein was considered a sponsor of terror by the U.S. government and Ryan ends the day as he began it: distancing himself from Trump. “He was one the 20th century’s most evil people,” Ryan says of Saddam on Fox News, when told of Trump’s praise.
Trump also says Clinton bought off Attorney General Lynch through suggestions she could serve in her administration. “It’s a bribe. It’s a disgrace,” Trump says.
“We’re going to take this country back from these thieves and these crooks,” he says.
The New York Post floats a new name for VP: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Day 65: Wednesday, July 6
Do you want to build a strawman? https://t.co/AoeNTJOGpo
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 7, 2016
The VP auditions continue. Trump campaigns in Cincinnati with Gingrich.
“I like the generals,” Trump says on Fox News of his possible VP. “I like the concept of the generals. There are two of them under consideration.”
Ernst and Corker, meanwhile, both withdraw. “His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka,” says Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Trump announces raising $51 million for his campaign and the RNC from late May through June 30. In a reversal, Rubio says he won’t attend the GOP convention.
The tweet controversy, meanwhile, drags into its fifth day.
“My father-in-law is not an anti-Semite,” Jared Kusher writes in defense of Trump in the New York Observer, the paper he owns. “It’s that simple, really. Donald Trump is not anti-Semitic and he’s not a racist.”
In a fiery speech, Trump renews his defense of his weekend tweet. “We shouldn’t have taken it down,” he says. “We should’ve left it up. I would have rather defended it.”
“When they told me the Star of David, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding, how sick are they?’ They’re the ones with the bad tendencies when they think that way,” Trump adds. “These people are sick, folks. I’m telling you, they’re sick.”
Later, on Twitter, Trump tweets a photo. It is of a Disney sticker book from the movie “Frozen.” The book cover features a six-pointed star. “Where is the outrage for this Disney book? Is this the ‘Star of David’ also? Dishonest media!” Trump writes. It is later reported that Trump composed the tweet with Gingrich aboard his plane.
“Do you want to build a strawman?” Clinton retorts.
Trump promises to release convention speaker schedule “tomorrow.”
Day 66: Thursday, July 7
Trump does not release convention speaker list. He makes a trip to Capitol Hill, meeting with House and Senate Republicans.
It is eventful. When Jeff Flake of Arizona introduces himself, Trump says, “You’ve been very critical of me.” Flake replies, “Yes, I’m the other senator from Arizona — the one who didn’t get captured — and I want to talk to you about statements like that.” Flake tells Trump to stop insulting Mexicans; Trump tells Flake he’s going to lose reelection; Flake tells Trump he’s not on the ballot this year.
Trump meets privately with Cruz for the first time since the primaries ended. There is no talk of endorsement. Trump offers a speaking role at the convention. Cruz accepts.
“Just leaving D.C. Had great meetings with Republicans in the House and Senate. Very interesting day!” Trump tweets after his meetings. “These are people who love our country!”
Gingrich says on Fox, “I’m being vetted” for VP. Of Trump, Gingrich says, “I think he is a remarkable figure. He has great strengths. He has weaknesses. But on balance he is historic.”
A gunman in Dallas opens fire on the police, killing five officers. It is the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9-11. The ambush came at a protest of the killings, by police, of two black men, in Louisiana and Minnesota the previous two days.
Day 67: Friday, July 8
Trump issues a tweet and a six-paragraph statement on the Dallas shooting. They contain no exclamation points. Trump does not claim credit for predicting the attack. Trump cancels a Florida event because of the Dallas shooting; Clinton cancels an appearance in Pennsylvania.
The New York Daily News reports that one of Trump’s security aides called the New York police chief and asked to address a roll call of officers. “Our interest is staying out of the politics of the moment, and not to provide photo ops,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton tells reporters. The Trump campaign denies this.
Clinton does TV interviews, on CNN and MSNBC. Trump does not. He tweets about hers. “Isn’t it sad that on a day of national tragedy Hillary Clinton is answering softball questions about her email lies on @CNN?” he writes.
POLITICO reports Lt. Gen. Flynn is moving up the VP rankings.
Day 68: Saturday, July 9
Trump goes to a fundraiser in the Hamptons. It’s at the house of billionaire investor Wilbur Ross. Trump stays for about 100 minutes. Among the listed hosts is Pepe Fanjul, a sugar magnate and former Rubio backer.
The New York Times publishes an interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She trashes Trump. “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she says. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
Day 69: Sunday, July 10
Trump holds no events.
VP candidate Flynn appears on ABC. He is asked about abortion. “Women have to be able to choose,” he says. Conservatives say Flynn has “disqualified” himself. Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin says on CNN of Trump, “I think he’s trying to campaign as a racial healer.”
Trump tweets a review of John King’s show on CNN: “Inside Politics was one hour of lies. Happily, few people are watching – dead network!”
Day 70: Monday, July 11
Trump campaigns in Virginia with Christie. It is his latest VP tryout. “I am the law and order candidate,” Trump says.
He also calls Chris Cillizza of the Post to talk about his options (Trump still bans the Post from rallies). “I have five people, including the general,” he says of his VP list. “I don’t need two anti-establishment people. Someone respected by the establishment and liked by the establishment would be good for unification. I do like unification of the Republican Party.”
“In my mind, I have someone that would be really good,” Trump says.
The platform committee of the RNC convenes in Cleveland. Trump staffers will work there to table an amendment that would call for increasing sanctions against Russia and “providing lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainian military. Trump campaign chairman Manafort, previously worked for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is viewed as a Russian ally.
The Wall Street Journal publishes clips of a syndicated Trump radio feature in which he says in 2008 that Hillary Clinton would “make a good president.”
Day 71: Tuesday, July 12
Trump plays a word game with The New York Times about his VP pick. Christie? “Strong.” Flynn “A patriot.” Ernst? “Terrific, exciting person.” Pence? “Solid as a rock.” Gingrich? “Newt is Newt. He’s a good guy.”
“My whole life has been about gut,” Trump says of his process.
Ginsburg continues her criticism of Trump. “He is a faker,” she tells CNN. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.”
Trump chides her for the “highly inappropriate” comments. “I think it’s a disgrace to the court and I think she should apologize to the court. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.” Late at night, he tweets, “Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot – resign!”
Trump calls the Wall Street Journal to speak about his VP pick. He suggests he wants an attack dog and calls Christie and Gingrich “two extraordinary warriors.” He says chemistry is important, too and “I clearly have it with Chris and Newt.”
Trump speaks with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. He mentions “the Monica.” “We’ve had enough of Bill Clinton … if you remember back then, with the impeachment, and the Monica, and all of the stuff that took place,” he says.
He flies to Indianapolis for a rally with Pence. “How’s your governor doing by the way? Good? I think so,” Trump tells the crowd. Of Pence, he says, “I don’t know if he is going to be your governor or vice president.”
Trump’s plane gets a flat tire. He stays the night in Indiana.
Day 72: Wednesday, July 13
Indianapolis becomes the unlikely center of the GOP universe. Trump, accompanied by his kids, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, meets with Pence and his family at the governor’s residence for breakfast.
Gingrich flies to meet Trump there, as well. He uses Hannity’s plane. “Whatever favors I do for my friends is my business,” Hannity says.
Trump goes on Fox. He tells Bret Baier he is not looking for an “attack dog” running mate after all. It is the opposite of Tuesday’s comments. “I want to pick somebody who is solid, who is smart,” Trump says, adding, “I would rather be talking about policy.”
Bair asks about Trump pivoting to become a “more controlled” candidate. “I’ll give you a terrible answer,” Trump says. “I don’t think so. I want to be myself.”
The Daily Beast reviews transcripts from Trumped! a 90-second radio feature Trump produced in the mid-2000s. He talks a lot about women. “Seventy percent of Britons said infidelity can be forgiven,” Trump says in one episode. “I guess I haven’t gone out with very many British women.” In another, Trump, then two months into his third marriage, says “If you really did a poll, I would bet you most of the powerful men running companies are having affairs.”
Trump files a $10 million lawsuit against former aide Sam Nunberg. Trump accuses him of breaching a confidentiality agreement after he was fired in the summer of 2015 for racist postings. Trump’s lawsuit claims Nunberg leaked the shouting match between Lewandowski and Hicks in May. Nunberg denies this in his affidavit reply, saying he didn’t leak anything about this “sordid and apparently illicit affair.”
New swing-state surveys from Quinnipiac show Trump tied or leading in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He has trailed in most other recent polls. There are warning signs, however. He receives zero percent African-American support in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Day 73: Thursday, July 14
In Cleveland, the RNC’s Rules Committee rejects efforts to stop Trump from winning the nomination. “So now do you finally accept the fact that the ‘Never Trump’ is nevermore?” Manafort says afterward. In D.C., Ginsburg expresses regret for her Trump remarks. “In the future, I will be more circumspect.”
Trump defends Roger Ailes, the embattled head of Fox News, after anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment earlier in the month. “I think they are unfounded just based on what I’ve read,” Trump tells the Washington Examiner. “Totally unfounded, based on what I read.”
Roll Call first reports Trump will pick Pence as VP. Other outlets hedge that it appears to be Pence.
Trump announces he will unveil his pick at 11 a.m. on Friday in New York. Pence boards a private plane for New York. There is a deadly terrorist attack in Nice, France. Eight-four people, including many children, are killed. Trump announces he is postponing his VP announcement.
He calls into O’Reilly’s program. O’Reilly says this is a “world-war scenario.” Trump agrees. “This is war,” he says, vowing to pursue a formal declaration against the Islamic State as president. “We’re living in a different world.”
Trump says twice he hasn’t made a “final, final decision” on his VP pick. “I’ve got three people that are fantastic. I think Newt is a fantastic person. I think Chris Christie is a fantastic person … And there’s Mike, and Mike has done a great job as governor of Indiana.”
POLITICO reports the GOP convention organizers are $6 million short only days before the convention is to begin and they’ve sent a letter to billionaire Adelson asking him to make up the difference. The letter reveals, for the first time, numerous companies and people who have shunned giving because of “negative publicity around our potential nominee.”
Day 74: Friday, July 15
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
Pence faces a noon deadline to declare for reelection. Trump announces Pence as his VP pick at 10:50 a.m. on Twitter. It is about the same time as the canceled announcement. Trump’s campaign is unprepared for the roll out online, failing to update its website for more than 24 hours. The new campaign logo, an interlocking T and P, is unveiled. It is widely mocked as sexually suggestive.
Less than three hours after the announcement, CNN’s Dana Bash first reports Trump was “so unsure” of the Pence pick that he was asking aides as late as midnight if he could get out of it. The campaign denies her report, despite Trump himself saying at 7 p.m. EDT he had not made his “final, final decision.”
Trump does not personally call Gingrich to inform him of VP decision. Gingrich tells the AP that he was asked for a decade of tax returns in the vetting process. Trump has refused to release his taxes.
GOP convention organizers apologize to Adelson for the letter they sent him. It wrongly listed companies and people that had withdrawn convention donations, including billionaire David Koch.
Day 75: Saturday, July 16
Trump introduces Pence as his running mate in New York. The event is at the same hotel where Ronald Reagan announced his presidential bid in 1979. They roll out a new logo, without the interlocking T and P.
Trump comes out alone. “Mike Pence was my first choice,” he begins. He says “one of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest.” Trump speaks for 28 minutes. Pence is polished, concise and drives a message of conservatism in 12 minutes.
Pence stops with his family for lunch at Chili’s. He tweets a photo. He later holds his first solo rally. It is in Indiana, not a swing state.
Trump announces new hires for Pence’s team, including Marty Obst, Josh Pitcock, Marc Lotter, and Marc Short. Nick Ayers will volunteer as a senior adviser.
The convention seating chart is released. States Cruz won are mostly sitting farthest from the stage.
Day 76: Sunday, July 17
Trump and Pence sit for their first joint interview on “60 Minutes.” Pence is asked to square his past opposition to negative campaigning with Trump’s rhetoric. Trump cuts in. “Hillary Clinton is a liar,” he says and a “crook.” Trump excuses Pence for not engaging. “I don’t think he should do it because it’s different for him,” he says.
There is a police shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three officers are killed and three others injured. “How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country?” Trump writes on Facebook. “We demand law and order.”
The convention speakers list is announced on the eve of the convention – 11 days after Trump promised. Six Trumps — Donald, Melania, Donald Jr., Eric, Tiffany and Ivanka — are billed as headliners. Among those not given that designation are Christie and Cruz.
Day 77: Monday, July 18
The Republican convention begins. The GOP infighting continues.
“He’s embarrassing his state, frankly,” Manafort says on MSNBC of Kasich, the governor of Ohio, the host state. The audience audibly groans. Manafort repeats the line in other appearances. Kasich’s team snipes back; adviser John Weaver says Manafort “has brought great professionalism, direct from Kiev, to Trump world.”
One of the day’s most moving speakers is Patricia Smith, the mother of one of the Americans killed in Benghazi. “I blame Hillary Clinton, I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” she says, holding back tears.
But the audience on Fox News could not see her. Trump calls in to talk to O’Reilly while Smith was speaking. “I’m probably the least racist person there is,” he tells the host.
Trump later makes an appearance on stage. He walks out, appearing as only a silhouette in front of a bright-white background. Queen’s “We Are the Champions” is playing. “We are going to win so big,” he predicts.
Melania Trump delivers a well-received speech. She pledges outreach to Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians. It soon emerges that her speech had cribbed passages directly from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech.
Day 78: Tuesday, July 19
Trump’s campaign spends the day denying the plagiarism charge. “There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These are common words and values,” Manafort says on CNN. RNC spokesman Sean Spicer cites “My Little Pony” to claim it is not plagiarism: “Melania Trump said, ‘the strength of your dreams and willingness to work for them.’ Twilight Sparkle from ‘My Little Pony’ said, ‘This is your dream. Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now.”
Lewandowski says on CNN “the buck stopped with me” when he was campaign manager. “I think if it was Paul Manafort, he’d do the right thing and resign,” he says of the plagiarism charge.
Donald Trump Jr. responds on CBS: “There’s a reason that Paul is in the position that he is today and Corey’s not.”
The evening program runs smoothly. Trump Jr. delivers a strong speech. Christie prosecutes the case against Clinton. “Lock her up,” come the chants from the crowd. That call would emerge as the week’s mantra as many speakers focused on Clinton’s trustworthiness.
Day 79: Wednesday, July 20
Trump’s campaign admits passages of Melania Trump’s speech were lifted after more than a day of denials. Trump Organization writer Meredith McIver takes the blame. She offers to resign. Trump rejects her resignation. Trump, McIver says, “told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences.”
Manafort calls into a super PAC fundraiser during the day. Trump had repeatedly bashed super PACs during the primary.
In the evening, Cruz dramatically refuses to endorse Trump. Trump enters the arena as Cruz is finishing speaking. He flashes a thumbs-up. “Vote your conscience,” Cruz says to massive boos. Soon after, Clinton tweets the same phrase.
Pence is the last speaker. He acknowledges Trump’s outsize persona. “He is a man known for a large personality, a colorful style and lots of charisma,” Pence says. “I think he was just looking for some balance on the ticket.”
The New York Times sends a breaking news alert: Trump in an interview says he would not necessarily defend NATO allies from a Russian attack. Trump says he would defend only Baltic nations if they “fulfilled their obligations” financially. The mutual-defense provision has kept stability in Europe since World War II.
Day 80: Thursday, July 21
Cruz stands by his non-endorsement, saying he would not “go like a servile puppy dog” and back Trump. “What does it say when you stand up and say ‘vote your conscience,’ and rabid supporters of our nominee begin screaming, ‘What a horrible thing to say!’” Cruz says.
Trump’s speech leaks, in full, in advance. Among those who get a copy? A pro-Clinton super PAC.
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel says “I’m proud to be gay” in his convention speech. The GOP audience cheers. Trump says in his speech he would do “everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.” More cheers. “As a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said,” Trump ad-libs.
Trump’s speech is otherwise dark. He speaks of rising crime, a dangerous world and terrorism spreading. “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” he says. The crowd chants, “Lock her up!”
“I alone can fix it,” Trump declares.
He formally accepts the nomination. His speech is more than 70 minutes long. It is the longest since at least 1972. It has been exactly 350 days since he was in the same arena, at the first Republican debate, and refused to endorse the eventual nominee if it wasn’t him.
During Trump’s speech, the convention displayed a tweet on the arena’s large screens by a white-supremacist account.
Day 81: Friday, July 22
Trump holds a rally in Cleveland. He uses the word “beautiful” 11 times. “This was probably one of the most peaceful, one of the most beautiful, one of the most love-filled conventions in the history of conventions,” he says.
It is Trump’s first full day as the official Republican nominee. He is talking about the same things he did the day he became the presumptive nominee. “I don’t want his endorsement,” Trump says of Cruz. “If he gives it, I will not accept it.”
Trump dredges up the unsubstantiated accusation that Cruz’s father was with JFK’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, citing the National Enquirer photo: “So this had nothing to do with me, except I might have pointed it out, but it had nothing to do with me. I have no control over anything. I might have pointed it out. But they never denied. Did anybody ever deny that it was the father?”
A “person familiar with Trump’s thinking,” who sounds like Trump, tells Bloomberg that Trump plans to create and fund a super PAC to end the careers of Cruz and Kasich if they run for office in the future.
A trove of internal DNC emails is posted by WikiLeaks that show party officials trying to stymy Sanders’ candidacy, including targeting his religion. The family of the late Luciano Pavarotti calls on Trump campaign to stop using his recording of a Puccini aria at his rallies. Ailes, the CEO of Fox News, resigns following sexual harassment allegations. Duke, the former KKK leader, announces a Senate bid and says he is “overjoyed” Trump has embraced much of his platform.
Clinton selects Kaine as her vice president.
Day 82: Saturday, July 23
Trump tweets about Kaine and the DNC emails. “Tim Kaine is, and always has been, owned by the banks. Bernie supporters are outraged, was their last choice. Bernie fought for nothing!” he writes. In another, Trump says, “Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED.”
The mother of former Ambassador Chris Stevens writes a letter to The New York Times “to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi” by Trump or the GOP.
Day 83: Sunday, July 24
Ted Koppel interviews Trump. He asks about Trump’s past pledges to “be presidential.”
“Haven’t seen it yet,” Koppel says.
“I think you have,” Trump replies. “I think you have.”
On “Meet the Press,” Trump says changing his Muslim ban to countries “compromised by terrorism” is actually an enlargement. “I actually don’t think it’s a rollback. In fact, you could say it’s an expansion,” Trump says.
He disagrees with reviews of his acceptance speech as negative. “To me, it was an optimistic speech,” Trump says. How so? “Because we’re going to stop the problems.”
Trump declines to say if Ailes is now advising his campaign. “I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them. And even recently. And when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him,” Trump says. “And now all of a sudden they’re saying these horrible things about him. It’s very sad.”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on CNN blames “Russian state actors” for hacking the DNC. The New York Times reports the DNC was breached “by two Russian intelligence agencies.” DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, under pressure from the leaked emails, announces she will resign at the end of the convention.
Day 84: Monday, July 25
“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me,” Trump tweets.
Priebus tells radio host Hugh Hewitt that who leaked the emails is not as significant as their contents. “The Russians didn’t write the emails,” he says. But former Trump adviser Michael Caputo disagrees, tweeting, “Sure, we’re having fun with the @wikileaks #DNCleak but this is a provocation by @KremlinRussia_E and must be dealt with. Stat.”
Polls show a Trump bump from the GOP convention as the Democratic convention begins in Philadelphia. Wasserman Schultz gets booed at a Florida delegation breakfast, and announces she won’t gavel in the convention. Sanders supporters cheer the news. Trump tries to capitalize. “Crazy Bernie is going crazy right now, OK?” Trump says in North Carolina, adding, “We’re gonna get the Bernie people coming here.”
Trump comes out against napping. “No naps for Trump! No naps. I don’t take naps. We don’t have time.” Trump also suggests Clinton deleted “Rodham” as her middle name because it is “too close” to “rotten.” “Maybe that’s why,” he says.
He ends the day in Virginia. The air conditioning is not working at his event. “I feel like I’m in a sauna. I don’t know what hotel this is,” Trump says. “You let people suffer and don’t turn on the air conditioning. This is ridiculous.”
Trump also goes on Hannity.
Clinton’s campaign pulls ads from Colorado, confident of her lead in the state.
Day 85: Tuesday July 26
“Pocahontas bombed last night!” Trump writes at 8:42 a.m., reviewing Warren’s Monday speech. “Sad to watch.” The ratings, however, show Democrats drew more TV viewers for Day One than the Republicans.
Trump continues to talk about Russia and the DNC email leak. “In order to try and deflect the horror and stupidity of the Wikileakes disaster, the Dems said maybe it is Russia dealing with Trump. Crazy!” he tweets. “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.”
Trump speaks at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. He says of Democrats, “They really established ISIS because of weakness, the people in this room know better than anybody else or any other audience what I mean by weakness. But because of weakness ISIS has been established.”
He tells The Hollywood Reporter he would consider adding Ailes, despite years of sexual harassment allegations, to his campaign team. “I would think about it. We have a great team. We have a great campaign going. But Roger is a very capable guy and he’s a friend of mine.”
Trump appears on O’Reilly, where he offers these three conflicting answers in 14 words when asked about the minimum wage: “There doesn’t have to be. Well, I would leave it and raise it somewhat.” He mentions $10 per hour, then says “let states make the deal.”
His campaign announces a new chief operating officer for this campaign, Jeff DeWit, a former Arizona state treasurer.
Day 86: Wednesday July 27
It is Day Three of the Democratic convention. Trump holds a news conference at his Doral golf resort in Florida. He calls Obama “the most ignorant president in our history,” wrongly describes Kaine as the New Jersey governor, calls former Rep. Anthony Weiner a “sleazeball and a pervert,” says the Baltimore prosecutor who charged police officers in the death of Freddie Gray “ought to prosecute herself,” calls for “at least” a $10 federal minimum wage and tells NBC reporter Katy Tur to “be quiet.”
None of that is the main news.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump says looking into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Condemnations swiftly follow.
Ryan’s office says, “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.” Clinton’s campaign accuses Trump of having “actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage” against the former secretary of state.
Also during his news conference, Trump says that he would improve relations with Russia as president, possibly lifting sanctions and recognizing Crimea as Russian territory: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with people?” He tweets a follow-up, “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”
Pence is dispatched to clean matters up. He says in a statement that if Russia is hacking and interfering in U.S. elections there would be “serious consequences.”
Trump campaigns in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He reiterates his threat to stop protecting NATO nations that don’t contribute more money. “By the way, if they don’t pay, bye bye,” he says in Ohio.
In Wisconsin, Washington Post reporter Jose A. DelReal tries to cover a Pence event. He is denied credentials. When he tries to enter via the general-admission line, private security stops him. He can’t enter with his phone or laptop, they say. He returns without them. He is patted down, and then turned away.
Trump ends the day hosting an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit.
Marvin Bush, the brother of Jeb Bush and George W. Bush, endorses Libertarian Gary Johnson. “I want to have a conscience,” he says on talk radio.
Day 87: Thursday, July 28
It is the last day of the Democratic convention.
Trump says on Fox he was only “being sarcastic” about Russia hacking Clinton’s emails. He says the Democrats are just trying to “deflect” from the contents of the leaked DNC emails. Host Brian Kilmeade asks Trump if McCain is a war hero. “Yeah, fine,” Trump responds. Asked about the disabled reporter that Trump mocked in a clip that Democrats have run heavily in ads, Trump responds, “I spend millions of dollars making buildings good for people that are disabled. Millions and millions of dollars.”
NBC digs up that he said in 2013 of Putin, “I do have a relationship” when Trump hosted the Miss Universe show in Moscow. On Wednesday, Trump had said, “I never met Putin, I don’t know who Putin is.”
In Philadelphia, some of the most emotional and intense moments come in the hour before prime time. Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq, stands on stage with his wife, Ghazala, and waves a pocket U.S. Constitution and says to Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” Retired four-star Gen. John Allen says that under Clinton, unlike Trump, “Our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture, and they will not be engaged in murder, or carry out other illegal activities.”
Clinton herself accepts the nomination. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she says pointedly.
Day 88: Friday, July 29
Pence, speaking to Hugh Hewitt, objects to Obama alluding to Trump as a homegrown demagogue in his speech: “I don’t think name calling has any place in public life.”
Trump tweets about the Democratic convention, “Crooked Hillary Clinton made up facts about me, and “forgot” to mention the many problems of our country, in her very average scream!” He mocks, “’Little’ Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster.” Trump had praised Bloomberg as a “great mayor” as late as 2013, toward the end of his third term.
Trump campaigns in Colorado. He gets stuck in an elevator for 30 minutes. He then criticizes the fire marshal at his rally.
“I’m taking the gloves off. Take the gloves off. Right?” Trump says of his approach to Clinton. “Taking the gloves off! Just remember this: Trump is gonna be no more Mr. Nice Guy.”
The Khans go on MSNBC. Khizr Khan calls McConnell and Ryan “patriots” and “decent human beings” but appeals to them to reject the GOP nominee. “Isn’t it time to repudiate Trump?”
The ratings for the Democratic convention’s final night show Trump drew more viewers than Clinton for his speech, 32.2 million to 29.8 million. It is the only night the GOP outdrew the Democrats.
Day 89: Saturday, July 30
The front-page Wall Street Journal headline is “U.S. in Weakest Recovery Since ’49.” But Trump wants to talk about the Khans.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” Trump says of Ghazala Khan to George Stephanopoulos. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.” Ghazala Khan says she did not speak because she is overwhelmed by grief for her dead son.
Asked to respond to Khizr Khan saying Trump has “sacrificed nothing and no one,” Trump says, “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs – built great structures. I’ve done—I’ve had—I’ve had tremendous success.”
The Trump campaign issues a clarifying statement. It calls Captain Khan “a hero to our country.” It also says Khan’s father has “no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution.”
Trump complains about the debates schedule because two occur during NFL games. Trump tells Stephanopoulos, “I got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous.’” The NFL says there was no such letter.
Trump also speaks with Maureen Dowd for her column. On Khirz Khan’s speech, Trump says, “I’d like to hear his wife say something.” On retired Gen. Allen, “He’s a failed general.” On Ailes, fired as head of Fox News for sexual harassment allegations, “Roger’s a friend of mine.”
Day 90: Sunday, July 31
I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
A defensive Trump begins the day by tweeting, “I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!” He adds, “this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR.”
Ghazala Khan responds on ABC. “Sacrifice — I don’t think he knows the meaning of the sacrifice, the meaning of the word. Because when I was standing there, all America felt my pain without saying a single word,” she says. “Shame on him,” Khizr Khan adds.
Jeb Bush weighs in, tweeting, “This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country.” Ryan and McConnell both issue statements. They don’t name Trump. They do defend the Khans. “His sacrifice — and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan —should always be honored. Period,” Ryan says.
Pence issues another clean-up statement. He says he and Trump believe Capt. Khan is a “hero” and his family “should be cherished by every American.”
Late in the evening, longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone tweets, “Mr. Khan more than an aggrieved father of a Muslim son- he’s Muslim Brotherhood agent helping Hillary.”
Also in his ABC interview, Trump says if he were president that Putin wouldn’t send forces into Ukraine. “He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand,” Trump says. “You can mark it down.” Stephanopoulos notes Russian troops are there already. “OK, well, he’s there in a certain way,” Trump responds. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, spurring Western outrage.
Trump says he might recognize Crimea as Russian territory: “The people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.” Trump’s top political adviser, Manafort, was an adviser to the pro-Russia former head of Ukraine.
There are 100 days left until the election.
“I think that I just wanna continue to campaign the way I’m doing,” Trump says, adding, “I’ve had a beautiful — I’ve had a flawless campaign. You’ll be writing books about this campaign.”
Day 91: Monday, Aug. 1
The Khan controversy explodes. At 7:10 a.m., Trump tweets, “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attack me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same – Nice!”
The Khans make multiple TV appearances. On NBC, Khizr Khan says because of the outpouring of support “my belief in the goodness of America is reaffirmed.”
McCain denounces Trump for having “disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents.” “I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates,” McCain says.
Rubio joins in: “I think his parents are heroes and they have a First Amendment right to speak out on their politics, as all Americans do.” So does Priebus: “I think this family should be off-limits.” And the head of the nonpartisan Veterans of Foreign Wars Brian Duffy says, “There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed.” Trump spoke to the group last week.
Ryan’s office releases nine “must-see” photos from July. The first one shows him holding up a pocket U.S. Constitution, just as Khan did in his speech. The pocket Constitution, selling for $1, has surged to become the #2 best-selling book on Amazon.
Trump later tweets out praise for Ryan’s primary challenger, Paul Nehlen.
Trump stirs another controversy, telling USA Today that if his daughter, Ivanka, was sexually harassed, “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”
There is more internal Trump staff turmoil. POLITICO reports Trump has fired Ed Brookover, his chief liaison to the RNC, and one other aide.
Former top Jeb Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw says she’s re-registering as an independent and will vote for Clinton if the election is close.
Trump holds a rally in Ohio. He suggests Crimea will be permanently part of Russia. “I mean, do you want to go back, do you want to have World War III to get it back?” he says. Later, in Pennsylvania, he directly says of Clinton, “She’s the devil.”
New polls show Trump trailing Clinton after the Democratic convention, including by 9 points in a CNN survey and 6 points in a CBS poll.
For the first time, Trump openly questions the legitimacy of the general election. “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged, I have to be honest.”
Day 92: Tuesday, Aug. 2
Trump continues to repeat his “rigged” line — at a rally in Virginia, and in print and television interviews.
There are more GOP defections. The first Republican member of Congress, Richard Hanna, says he will vote for Clinton in an op-ed. Maria Comella, a former top Christie aide, says will vote for Clinton, too. Billionaire Republican CEO of Hewlett-Packard Meg Whitman says she will vote and donate to Clinton.
Trump tweets that Clinton is a “A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR.” It is the same term Cruz applied to Trump the day he became the presumptive nominee.
At Trump’s Virginia rally, he touts a Purple Heart a veteran handed him. “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier,” he says. Purple Hearts are given to those wounded in combat. The New York Times had detailed his draft deferments from Vietnam earlier in the day, including for a bone spur.
Trump also asks the mother of a crying baby to leave his rally, perhaps in jest. “I love babies,” he says at first. “I hear that baby crying. I like it.” Moments later, Trump changes his mind. “Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here.” The woman later says she was not kicked out.
Trump tells the Post he isn’t ready to endorse Ryan, whose primary is next week. “I’m just not quite there yet,” Trump says. It is a direct echo of Ryan’s language from May. (“I’m just not ready to do that at this point,” Ryan said then. “I’m not there right now.”) Trump also declines to support McCain.
Trump’s antics overshadow other news that could be negative for Clinton. The DNC parted ways with its CEO, communications director and chief financial officer in a shake-up. The Wall Street Journal reports on a “secretly organized” airlift of $400 million to Iran that coincided with the release of four Americans in January.
But when Trump goes on O’Reilly, he laments how the Khan story evolved. “Please remember, I was viciously attacked and all I did was respond to it and it ends up being a four-day story.” But speaking to a local TV reporter, Trump twice says of the Khan episode, “I don’t regret anything.”
Trump reiterates his “rigged” election concerns to O’Reilly. “You don’t have to have voter ID to now go in and vote, and it’s a little bit scary, and I’ve heard a lot of bad things,” he says. “I mean, people are going to walk in, they are going to vote 10 times, maybe.”
Day 93: Wednesday, Aug. 3
NBC reports Priebus, Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and other Trump backers are plotting an intervention. ABC reports GOP officials are exploring the possibilities if Trump drops out. “He’s thrown a series of interceptions in the last week that really do not bode well for his campaign,” Gingrich says on Fox Business.
The top trending question on Google: “Is Trump dropping out of the elections?”
“The campaign is in very good shape,” Manafort insists on Fox.
The campaign announces it raised $80 million in July, including Republican Party funds.
Pence and Trump split again; Pence says he “strongly endorses” Ryan.
Trump’s aides suggest Trump will be more on message at a rally in Florida. He begins by speaking about the Iran money and Clinton. He soon veers. He relitigates his nearly year-old comments about “blood coming out of her wherever” about Megyn Kelly. He also tries to explain away his gestured mocking of a disabled Times reporter that has been featured in Democratic ads. Trump meets with the Gold Star families of fallen soldiers before his second rally in Florida.
Trump brings up the $400 million payment to Iran, citing “top secret” footage he’s seen. “Remember this: Iran — I don’t think you heard this anywhere but here — Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off the airplane,” Trump says. “Right?” His campaign later admits he is referring to B-roll he saw on Fox of something else.
A new Fox News poll shows Clinton leading Trump 49 percent to 39 percent. A new Michigan poll shows him down 41 percent to 32 percent.
“I don’t know why we’re not leading by a lot,” Trump says of the polls.
Day 94: Thursday, Aug. 4
Trump campaigns in Maine and New York. In Maine, he repeats his claim from the day before of seeing nonexistent secret footage of Iran receiving money. Protesters brandish pocket Constitutions.
“He’s had a pretty strange run since the convention,” Ryan says of Trump on Wisconsin radio. Ryan calls the Khans episode “beyond the pale.” Still, he stands by his endorsement.
Mike Coffman of Colorado becomes the first Republican congressman to air an explicitly anti-Trump ad. “People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’” he says in it. “Honestly, I don’t care for him much.” Billionaire Republican donor Seth Klarman announces he’ll actively support Clinton. The Harvard Republican Club announces its opposition to Trump, too.
New polls show Trump trailing by 15 points in New Hampshire and 9 points in Pennsylvania, two swing states. A national McClatchy-Marist poll shows Trump down 15 points, 48 percent to 33 percent. A NBC/Wall Street Journal survey has Clinton ahead 47 percent to 38 percent.
Manafort says on CBS that Trump’s dropping poll numbers “were expected.” “Usually campaigns don’t even start until September.”
In Maine, Trump tells a local reporter he has a shot at the state’s four electoral votes. Asked what “deal” he could best negotiate as president, Trump says “peace all over the world.” “And I think I would know how to do it better than anybody else, but peace all over the world.”
In the evening, #NextTrumpGaffe trends nationwide on Twitter.
Day 95: Friday, Aug. 5
A new Michigan poll shows Clinton ahead by 11 points.
Trump unveils a 13-person economic advisory council. All are men. Some are Trump’s biggest donors.
Duke, the former KKK leader, says on NPR that Trump “is not a racist” and that, “As a United States senator, nobody will be more supportive of his legislative agenda, his Supreme Court agenda than I will.” Trump’s New York co-chairman, Carl Paladino, says Obama is a Muslim. “In the mind of the average American, there is no doubt he is a Muslim,” Paladino says.
Clinton speaks to a convention of Hispanic and black journalists. Of her past answers on the email server, she says she “may have short-circuited it and for that, I will, you know, try to clarify.”
Trump campaigns in Iowa and Wisconsin. He endorses Ryan and McCain after hedging earlier in the week. He refocuses on Clinton. He calls her “dangerous,” “pathological,” “unstable” and “unbalanced.”
“She’s really pretty close to unhinged,” Trump says. In Wisconsin, Trump says, “In one way, she’s a monster. In another way, she’s a weak person. She’s actually not strong enough to be president.”
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell endorses Clinton. Trump, he says, “is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”
Day 96: Saturday, Aug. 6
Trump tweets about Clinton. “Anybody whose mind ‘SHORT CIRCUITS’ is not fit to be our president! Look up the word ‘BRAINWASHED,’ he writes. He later tweets about the media: “I am not just running against Crooked Hillary Clinton, I am running against the very dishonest and totally biased media – but I will win!”
Trump campaigns in New Hampshire. He hits Clinton for her “short-circuit” comment. He calls her a “horrible, horrible human being.”
“Now, you tell me, she looks presidential, folks,” Trump says. “I look presidential.”
Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia becomes the first Republican congressman to say he will vote for the Libertarian ticket.
Day 97: Sunday, Aug. 7
The media is going crazy. They totally distort so many things on purpose. Crimea, nuclear, “the baby” and so much more. Very dishonest!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2016
Trump does not appear on the Sunday shows. He holds no public events. CBS releases three battleground state polls: Clinton is up 12 points in Virginia, 2 points in Nevada and Trump is ahead by 2 points in Arizona. She hits 50 percent in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, leading Trump 50 percent to 42 percent.
Trump continues to complain about the media. “The media is going crazy. They totally distort so many things on purpose. Crimea, nuclear, “the baby” and so much more. Very dishonest!” he tweets.
Day 98: Monday, Aug. 8
Trump gives a speech about his economic plans in Detroit. He unveils a new tax plan. His campaign had previously denied rewriting its tax plan.
Trump is interrupted more than a dozen times by protesters. He follows the teleprompter and hammers Clinton. “She’s the candidate of the past; ours is the campaign of the future,” he says.
Fifty top Republican national security professionals and veterans of past GOP administrations sign a letter saying Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” for the White House and “would be the most reckless president in American history.” Trump dismisses them as “nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold on to their power.” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she won’t vote for Trump. A spokesman for the Florida Republican Party quits because of differences with Trump.
Trump tweets, “Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.” The hashtag #ManyPeopleAreSaying soon begins trending on Twitter mocking Trump.
A new Monmouth poll shows Clinton ahead of Trump 50 percent to 37 percent among likely voters.
Day 99: Tuesday, Aug. 9
“My temperament has gotten me here,” Trump says on Fox and Friends. “I certainly don’t think it’s appropriate to start changing all of a sudden when you’ve been winning,” he goes on. “I mean I’ve beaten many people, and now we’re down to one. And we’ll see how it all works out, but I think it’s going to work out well.”
More polls show Trump losing ground. Quinnipiac polls show Clinton up in Florida (1 point), Ohio (4 points) and Pennsylvania (10 points). NBC/Wall Street Journal polls show her up in Iowa (4 points), Ohio (5 points) and Pennsylvania (11 points).
Trump tells Time he wants to negotiate the conditions of the fall debates. “I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely,” he says.
Trump campaigns in North Carolina. He appears to suggest gun owners take action to prevent Clinton from appointing anti-gun judges.
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” he says. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”
A spokesman for the Secret Service says, “The Secret Service is aware of the comment.”
Trump adviser Jason Miller issues a statement blaming the “dishonest media.” He says Trump was talking about “the power of unification” for Second Amendment voters. “They will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump,” Miller says.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook responds: “This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”
In North Carolina, Trump reminisces about running for president. “I’ve never worked this hard in my life,” he says.
Day 100: Wednesday, Aug. 10
Today is Day 100.
There are 89 days until the election.
There are 1,461 days in a president’s four-year term.