Presidential races

Trump’s momentum keeps rolling

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump is riding several strong post-debate polls into a full schedule of campaign stops this week as he seeks to solidify his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump will campaign this week in Michigan, New Hampshire and Iowa, where a new poll found him leading the GOP race with 19 percent, compared to 12 percent for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

{mosads}The survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling was one of several that suggested Trump has been boosted further by his performance at Thursday’s first GOP debate, bolstering confidence in an already bullish-sounding campaign.

“Time and time again people have underestimated Donald Trump and they do so at their own peril,” Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski said in an interview.

Lewandowski said that post-debate polls have expanded Trump’s lead because voters “want to hear a straight talker who can tell them how to fix the country.”

Trump is battling accusations of misogyny after he lambasted Fox anchor Megyn Kelly over her questions at last week’s debate. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her —wherever,” he told CNN.

Nearly every other Republican in the race has blasted those comments. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called Trump a “bully” on Monday in a column that also hit him for not being a true conservative.

Yet the blowback does not seem to be cutting into Trump’s support — at least so far.

A Morning Consult tracking online national poll found Trump increasing his lead to 32 percent —21 percentage points ahead of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who garnered 11 percent.

And a new poll from Reuters found Trump leading among Republican voters after the debate with 24 percent, compared to 12 percent for Bush. Trump’s numbers were unchanged from a previous Reuters poll, but Bush’s numbers were down from 17 percent in the online poll.

The new polls underlines a sense that Trump is not like other presidential candidates, and that controversies that would sink others bounce off the billionaire businessman. Many thought comments he made last month denigrating Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) war service would do him in. Instead, Trump’s poll numbers grew.

“Donald Trump is far more than a flash in the pan, in fact he is a far more durable candidate than anyone could have imagined,” said GOP Strategist Ford O’Connell.

“It’s not so much about Trump or his actual positions, it is the fact that he speaks his mind and channels anti-Washington, anti-politician anger.”

Lewandowski, who would not comment on Kelly, said Washington insiders continue to prematurely count out Trump.

“If you look at the history of this campaign — starting in June, many pundits said that he’d never run; then they said he wouldn’t file the right paperwork; then they said he wouldn’t release his financial disclosures; and then they said he wouldn’t be a factor,” Lewandowski said.

“They’ve been wrong every time,” Lewandowski added.

Still, a prominent Republican strategist said that Trump was “playing with fire” with his rhetoric.

“If Republicans perceive disloyalty and lack of a commitment to conservatism, he is in trouble,” the strategist said.

Trump at Thursday’s debate refused to rule out a run as a third-party candidate, which many think could hand the presidential race to Democrats.

In a tweet, Trump did appear to offer an olive branch to Fox News, calling its president Roger Ailes “a great guy” and saying Ailes had promised he would be treated fairly.

“His word is always good,” Trump concluded his tweet. The businessman is expected to appear on the channel’s “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning.

Trump’s critics say that he’ll need to lay out more substantive policy proposals if he wants to win over independents and keep his lead, but Lewandowski pushed back at that criticism.

“Mr. Trump has already laid out a number of his policies clearly. And that’s why he’s in first place,” he said.

“On immigration, he wants to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. He wants to take care of our veterans by building a new [Department of Veterans Affairs]; and he wants to negotiate better trade deals with China.”

This story was updated at 4:24 p.m. 




Tags Donald Trump Iowa Jeb Bush Michigan New Hampshire Scott Walker
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