Trump Tones It Down at No Labels Event
Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner known for insulting his rivals and eschewing political correctness, came to New Hampshire on Monday to talk about the need to get along.
At an event sponsored by No Labels, the bipartisan group founded by Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Trump lamented a gridlocked Washington where “people aren’t getting together.” He praised the days of Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan, where leaders “got things done.” And he said the term “compromise” doesn’t have to be a dirty word if winning is involved.
The real estate mogul predicted that many of his rivals will soon drop out of the presidential race, “and when it becomes a different kind of situation, you’ll see I’m going to be much less divisive.”
Trump has a made a name for himself in this campaign by hurling insults at his GOP competitors—calling Jeb Bush “low energy”; Marco Rubio “a baby”; and harshly referencing Carly Fiorina’s “face”—and using inflammatory language to talk about key complicated issues such as immigration.
He was, therefore, a peculiar fit for the No Labels event. But he also isn’t exactly a man of his party—he’s held widely varying views over the years, and his conservative credentials are considered suspect.
Still, Trump came to New Hampshire knowing the audience, which was markedly different from the ones that typically attend his campaign appearances.
He spoke at length about rebuilding Central Park’s Wollman ice rink in the 1980s after working with then-Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat. “I got everybody together, and we got it done,” he said. “You can do that with this country.”
“People are fed up with incompetent politicians who don't get things done,” Trump said, pledging not to take a salary as president. “This is going to be an election largely based on competence.”
His appearance at the “Problem Solver Convention” in Manchester wasn’t all kumbaya, however.
When asked by an audience member if his divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail would make it difficult to ultimately get things done, Trump said, “I don’t want to be politically correct all the way down the line.”
“I’m going to have to be who I am,” he added.
When a woman in the audience told Trump she didn’t think he is “a friend to women,” the GOP candidate went to his traditional line, without getting specific: “I respect women. I love women. I cherish women.”
His questioner then asked whether Trump would support pay equity and a woman’s right to choose “what to do with her body.” He responded that “you’re going to make the same if you do as good a job” and that he is pro-life.
Trump also defended the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus in the House, which has thrown a monkey wrench into efforts to elect a new speaker. “I love the Tea Party,” he said when asked. “These are people that love this country.”
He also talked about his continuing lead in the polls, a staple of his stump speech: “People ask, ‘Why do you talk about the polls?’ Because I’m winning. If [the other candidates] were doing well, they’d be talking about the polls.”
He also said President Obama “bombed” his interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday.