Trump glosses over past ac­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/worldwide -

dur­ing the pri­maries.

He now largely reads speeches off teleprompters de­spite cast­ing as­per­sions on other politi­cians for re­ly­ing on the de­vices. He’s rolled out pro­pos­als on poli­cies in which he’s shown no pre­vi­ous in­ter­est, in­clud­ing child care and paid fam­ily leave. And he’s made over­tures to mi­nori­ties, in­clud­ing blacks and His­pan­ics, groups with whom he has min­i­mal sup­port.

Trump’s lat­est at­tempt to per­suade vot­ers that he’s the lesser of two evils came on Fri­day, when he abruptly re­versed course on his lie that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Trump’s role as chief pro­moter of the con­spir­acy the­ory about the na­tion’s first black pres­i­dent has left him with al­most no sup­port among African-Amer­i­cans and has turned off mod­er­ates who bris­tle at its racist un­der­tones.

Trump’s new­found ac­cep­tance of Obama’s birth­place seems un­likely to sway many of those vot­ers. He of­fered no apol­ogy for push­ing the false­hood for years and in­stead said the ru­mours orig­i­nated with Clin­ton, another in­ac­cu­rate claim.

“De­spite what his cam­paign strate­gists told him to say to­day, I think he still be­lieves that the pres­i­dent wasn’t born in Amer­ica,” said Dan Pfeif­fer, a for­mer Obama ad­viser who was tasked with re­leas­ing the pres­i­dent’s long-form birth cer­tifi­cate to re­porters in 2011.

Clin­ton ad­vis­ers say their data show no fun­da­men­tal shift in the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of Trump, de­spite pref­er­ence polls that are tight­en­ing na­tion­ally and in some bat­tle­ground states. They be­lieve a sum­mer spent blast­ing the air­waves with tele­vi­sion ads high­light­ing Trump’s bel­li­cose be­hav­iour and ques­tion­able busi­ness prac­tices, as well as a se­ries of sharply crit­i­cal speeches from Clin­ton, have largely ce­mented vot­ers’ neg­a­tive view of the real es­tate mogul and made it im­pos­si­ble for his pivot to take hold.

“Trump has been de­fined,” said Celinda Lake, a Demo­cratic poll­ster. She said that’s par­tic­u­larly true among women, who “think he’s the worst date they’ve ever been on.”

A re­cent Quin­nip­iac poll showed 59 per­cent of likely vot­ers be­lieve the way Trump talks “ap­peals to big­otry.” Among likely women vot­ers, 62 per­cent held that view.

Clin­ton’s strat­egy has echoes of the ap­proach Obama used to de­fine Mitt Rom­ney in 2012. Obama’s cam­paign spent the sum­mer pum­melling the Repub­li­can chal­lenger with neg­a­tive ads paint­ing him as a cold-hearted busi­ness­man with lit­tle re­gard for mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans.

Rom­ney was ham­strung by his in­abil­ity to ac­cess gen­eral

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