Real-estate mogul Donald Trump said in a recent interview that he wants to change one of his trademark campaign-trail characteristics: constantly trashing his opponents.
“I think I could tone it down a little bit and I’ll try,” Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody for a segment that aired Wednesday.
Trump’s aggressiveness has become renowned in the 2016 presidential race.
The Republican front-runner often trashes his opponents with deeply personal insults, especially when he is responding to their own attacks against him.
As recently as last weekend, Trump said that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) “didn’t get the right gene” from his father and that his state “is embarrassed by him.” He mocked former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina’s face in a recent Rolling Stone profile.
The list goes on. He said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) unsuccessfully “put glasses on so people will think he’s smart” and that former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) “couldn’t be elected dog catcher.” He has called Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and several other rivals “lightweights.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is a frequent Trump target. The developer gave away Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) cell phone number at a campaign rally. He’s blasted the records of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
And that’s without even mentioning his personal attacks against media personalities, Democratic candidates, and other politicians not running for president — like Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), whose war record he questioned.
But Trump might be shifting to a softer approach to his opponents.
After Perry dropped out of the race last Friday, Trump unexpectedly started complimenting him. And The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump’s recent stump speeches have featured less trash-talk.
“Well it’s a tough question because you hate to say what your weaknesses are. But I think I could tone it down a little bit when pressed. When somebody hits you, you can hit [back] a little less hard, ” Trump said in the Christian Broadcasting Network interview when asked if there was anything he could improve upon.
Trump also suggested that he won’t completely change.
“At the same time, that may be the kind of thing that the country needs because we have to hit back hard,” he added. “We have to fight hard, because we’re not going to have a country.”
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