It took less than a day for the “New Donald Trump” to become the familiar Donald Trump on the campaign trail.
Many observers noted a gentler side of Trump during his primary-night victory speech at Trump Tower. The real-estate mogul referred to Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, as “Senator Cruz” rather than Trump’s preferred pejorative: “Lyin’ Ted.”
But several minutes into a speech during a Wednesday rally in Indiana, the moniker was back.
“In the case of Ted Cruz — lyin’ Ted, lyin’ Ted,” Trump said. “Lies, oh he lies.”
Though Trump’s new campaign leadership may be attempting to bring a new level of professionalism to his campaign, that didn’t stop the former reality-television star from taking familiar shots at his rivals during a full day of campaigning Wednesday.
The Republican presidential frontrunner took some of his favourite cracks at both Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He criticised Cruz’s truthworthiness and Kasich’s support for the North American Free Trade Agreement. He asserted that neither had a credible shot at the nomination.
“There is no path for lyin’ Ted Cruz to get the nomination. He’s out,” Trump said. “He can never beat Hillary. How do you beat Hillary if you can’t get votes? Kasich beat him in New York, can you believe that? Kasich.”
He added: “Kasich hasn’t had one negative ad against him. As soon as he has the first 10 negative ads against him, he’ll drop like a rock, believe me.”
At one point during a Wednesday-night rally in Maryland, Trump described the experience of voting for himself as an honour. Even then, he didn’t miss an opportunity to take a potshot at reading his opponents’ names on the New York primary ballot.
“I walked into the voting booth, and they gave me a thing,” he said. “I saw, ‘Stiff.’ ‘Stiff.’ ‘Trump,'” he said, as the audience laughed.
Trump also continued the crowd-pleasing antics that have become staples at his rallies, taunting protesters for supposedly being “weak” and telling sensational stories that play somewhat loose with the facts.
On Wednesday, Trump again mentioned the murder of San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle last year at the hands of an immigrant living in the US illegally.
Though the shooting is often a major part of Trump’s stump speech, on Wednesday he incorrectly stated that Steinle was “raped and sodomized” before she was killed.