June 8, 2016
A day that could have been another victory lap for Donald Trump veered into more chaos for the new Republican standard-bearer, as he faced fury from top party leaders Tuesday and the defection of a GOP senator over racially charged comments calling into question the impartiality of a federal judge because he is of Mexican descent.
The day’s roller coaster was perhaps the clearest sign yet that Trump’s formula of using controversy to fuel his presidential primary campaign presents a stiffer challenge to him and his party in the general election.
Trump ended the day by doing something he rarely does: reading a prime-time speech from a teleprompter.
The 17-minute address, delivered to supporters in front of his family at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, outside New York City, was designed to reassure the party, with a promise to fight special interests and deliver a broadside attack on Hillary Clinton next week.
“I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle,” Trump said, “and I will never ever let you down.”
Trump’s attempt to finally end the controversy followed a days-long onslaught of criticism from fellow Republicans, who condemned the remarks about the judge and rushed to distance themselves from the broader backlash against them. Yet most were unwilling to rescind their endorsement of Trump, given the support he still retains among Republican voters.
The party was in full panic Tuesday over how to deal with a candidate who appeared uninterested in the advice of party leaders and some in his own campaign.