Solar Impulse 2’s flight of Liberty
Party reaches out for a change of tone
Weary Republicans are looking for assurances that Donald Trump can maintain the discipline needed to stay on message as he prepares for a bruising US general election run-up against Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s conciliatory, teleprompter-guided victory speech on Tuesday appeared to stave off - at least for the time being - a near-revolt over his racially divisive attacks against the American-born judge of Mexican heritage hearing the case against his now-defunct Trump University.
As he kicked off his general election campaign on Friday, a thorny question has arisen: how does the party keep Trump in check?
“A primary campaign against 16 opponents is very different and combative in a different way than a general election against a well-organised, well-funded Clinton machine,” said Chris Collins, who has been helping to coordinate Trump’s outreach to Congress.
Collins said he understood there would be lingering questions about Trump after the distracting episode, but said the speech was part of what he sees as a “total pivot” by the candidate.
“Mr Trump is a smart guy and wants to win,” he said after a weekly gathering with Trump staff on Thursday. “I’m convinced we’ll see a very disciplined GOP nominee moving forward.” The judge episode arguably marked the biggest crisis of Trump’s campaign to date, and sparked a series of phone calls from concerned Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, pressing the gravity of the situation. “I explained exactly what I thought about that comment. I said it publicly and I said it privately,” Ryan said in an interview that aired on Good Morning America. “I don’t know what’s in his heart,” he added. “But I do think, hope and believe that he’s going to improve the tenor of the campaign, the tone of the campaign, the kind of campaign that he’s going to run.” It remains to be seen, however, how deeply Trump has internalised the message. Since launching his campaign, Trump has pushed back against calls by some of his closest aides and family members to adopt a more “presidential tone”. His fiery language and penchant for controversy has earned him endless free media attention and energised voters during the primaries, helping him secure victory. “You think I’m going to change? I’m not changing,” he boomed at a press conference. Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski dismissed the idea of an intervention, and downplayed the significance of the victory speech, noting that Trump had used previously used teleprompters to deliver remarks.
The Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered aircraft landed in New York City yesterday on the latest leg of its globe-circling voyage. The Swiss-made plane soared over the Statue of Liberty and flew into New York City, before landing at John F Kennedy International Airport. The voyage began in March last year from Abu Dhabi and stops were made in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan.