Throughout the presidential primary, Republicans of all stripes and sizes repeatedly reassured voters that Donald Trump would quit his antics and finally act like a grown-up. He would change, they promised, often using language associated with preadolescent children, into a more inclusive and competent general election candidate.
If the events of the last few weeks haven’t shattered their delusions yet, perhaps they should listen to the GOP nominee himself.
“I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well you’re going to pivot.’ I don’t want to pivot,” Trump said in a Tuesday interview with Wisconsin television station WKBT. “I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people.”
“I’ve gotten here in a landslide and we’ll see what happens,” he added. “I mean, in the end, don’t forget when I lost Wisconsin, it was over for Trump. Except for one problem, I then went on a very good run. But no, I am who I am.”
It’s true that, in the wake of his Wisconsin loss to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in early April, Trump dominated a handful of primaries across the Northeast. The turnaround ― and especially the large delegate haul out of his native New York ― paved the way to his nomination.
But the general election is a different animal, and Trump’s comments to WKBT reveal the degree to which the candidate remains hung up on running a primary campaign focused on merely winning base GOP voters. His divisive rhetoric and positions have driven young voters, women and minorities into the arms of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump ruminated about losing the election in a surprisingly candid interview last week, telling CNBC his strategy is “either going to work or I’m going to have a very, very nice long vacation.”
The real estate mogul’s antics, his lack of campaign infrastructure and his refusal to spend on television advertising has even bewildered some GOP operatives, who have theorized Trump may be engaging in self-sabotage in order to conduct an exit out of the campaign.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist