Everyone was expecting a loud, exclamatory, told ya so! But his response was almost mature. Perhaps Kellyanne Conway is finally breaking through.
Hillary Clinton had a bit of a spell at a 9/11 memorial event in New York City yesterday. After video was released of Clinton needing assistance to make it into her vehicle, the campaign revealed that Clinton is currently battling a bout of Pneumonia, and has been since last week. Not only does this event add fuel to the entirely unsubstantiated claims about Clinton’s deteriorating health, it also opened a clear lane for Trump to brag about his prediction and double-down.
But, to the surprise of everyone, Trump didn’t boast or double-down, he responded like, dare I say, a human being. When asked on Fox & Friends this morning (video below) about the recent events surrounding the health of his opponent, Trump responded by saying, “I hope she gets well soon. I don’t know what’s going on; I’m like you. I just see what I see. The coughing fit was a week ago, so I assume that was pneumonia also.” He continued, “Somethings going on, but I just hope she gets well and gets back on the trail, and we’ll be seeing her at the debate.” Tact and subtlety are new additions to the Trump campaign, to put it mildly. His statement does little to quell the spread of conspiracy theories surrounding Clinton’s health—many of which he is directly responsible for. His language is very open so as to suggest the Clinton campaign is hiding something beyond pneumonia. Even so, for Donald Trump, it was a very generic, and measured response, the whole thing has Kellyanne Conway written all over it.
Conway was brought on as Trump’s campaign manager nearly a month ago, and many thought her two decades of extensive campaign experience would help Trump pivot to the middle. It hasn’t happened. But there have been flashes of Kellyanne’s influence seen in various places within the campaign. Those few days when it seemed like Trump was shifting his immigration stance for example. He used the words: humane, fair and compassionate. Of course, these moments have been spliced together with fringe-fanning rhetoric, likely stemming from the influence of Stephen Bannon. Trump hired Bannon as the CEO of the campaign the same day he hired Conway. And since then (Aug, 17th,) it seems as though Trump has been ping-ponging between Conway and Bannon, flinging alt-right ideologies one moment and pandering to the centrists the next. The former more often than the latter.
If Trump was smart, he would start shifting the balance over to Conway. This response was a strategic move to defy expectations and appear more grounded. But due to Trump’s typically a-typical and often offensive approach to politics, it likely fell on predominantly deaf ears. But he could still, even now, pull of a subtle shift to tighten things up a bit. Breitbart readers are already in his pocket, it’s the disillusioned republicans and the fed up democrats that could help him gain some ground. However, this is Donald Trump, a man that has proven time and time again that any movement towards the center is sure to be short-lived and followed by unprecedented calamity.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.