Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Abingdon, Virginia August 10, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
But the businessman didn’t exude such confidence in a remarkably candid interview with CNBC on Thursday, which touched on his numerous controversial statements in recent weeks that have caused serious damage to his campaign.
CNBC: I’m wondering how you think that’s going to play in some battleground states.
TRUMP: I don’t know. Whatever it is, it is. Look, all I do is tell the truth. I’m a truth-teller. All I do is tell the truth. And if at the end of 90 days, I fall short because I’m somewhat politically correct even though I’m supposed to be the smart one and even though I’m supposed to have a lot of good ideas, it’s OK. You know, I go back to a very good way of life. It’s not what I’m looking to do. I think we’re going to have a victory, but we’ll see. At the end, it’s either going to work or I’m going to have a very, very nice long vacation.”
This doesn’t sound like a candidate engaged in a bareknuckle brawl three months from Election Day. It sounds like a candidate who is beginning to see the writing on the wall.
Taking his self-description of being a “truth-teller” aside ― check out this chart, compiled using data from Politifact.com, on false statements candidates have made. Trump appears totally unwilling to quit the primary and run a more inclusive general election campaign. The so-called “pivot” isn’t coming, to the disappointment of many elected officials, operatives and donors in his party who have naively been insisting that he just needs more time to change.
He ignited another controversy Wednesday, when he called President Barack Obama the “founder” of the Islamic State militant group. That came less than 24 hours after he suggested taking Second Amendment remedies should his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton assume office and appoint gun control friendly Supreme Court justices.
Trump looks like he’s going out in a blaze of glory. He’s going to burn this sucker to the ground ― and take American politics down with him.