The campaign for Donald Trump and Trump’s fellow Republican supporters argued Sunday that the unpredictable presidential nominee had an outstanding, comeback week amid new leadership but still faced a barrage of questions about what’s next -- particularly about Trump’s plan for the massive deportation of illegal immigrants.
“To be determined,” new Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Trump has, since the start of his campaign, vowed to deport the country’s roughly 11 million illegal immigrants through a deportation “force.”
However, Trump’s pressing need to expand his base, which he has in part tried to do by recently attempting to win over at least some minority voters, has raised speculation that the first-time candidate might be willing to allow some illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.
Such speculation increased Saturday after Trump met in New York with his newly formed Hispanic advisory council.
The meeting was followed by a report on BuzzFeed.com in which multiple sources told the website that Trump had expressed interest in a “humane and efficient” way to deal with illegal immigrants, while steadfast about his vows to tighten U.S. border security.
The Trump campaign quickly tried to tamp down the report.
“It's clickbait journalism,” said campaign rapid response Director Steven Cheung. “Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn't said many times before.”
Conway made similar remarks Sunday, arguing that what Trump said in the meeting “varied little” from what he has said publicly.
"What he supports is to make sure we enforce the law, that we are respectful of those Americans who are looking for jobs, and that we are fair and humane to those who live among us," she said.
The Trump campaign announced Thursday that Conway had been promoted from the job of campaign adviser and that Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon was the campaign’s new chief executive. On Friday, campaign Chairman Paul Manafort resigned.
Conway on Sunday also faced questions about Trump’s yet-to-be-released tax returns and what exactly he meant in saying last week that he regrets that some of his comments have caused people personal pain.
Conway suggested Trump’s remarks were an open letter to anybody whom he’s offended, including Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, who Trump has implied was not his idea of a true military hero, considering he was captured in the Vietnam War.
“That can include me. That can include you,” Conway said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Conway also said she understands after having joined the campaign that Trump cannot release his tax returns while under audit -- after having called for their release while working for a super PAC that backed Trump GOP primary rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
However, Conway made clear that she still will not stand for Trump “insults.”
“This is the best week, I think, so far in the Trump campaign,” Conway also said, “mostly because (Trump) has able to be himself. … But also the pivot that he's made is on substance. He's out there talking about law enforcement. He's talking about defeating radical Islamic terrorism, middle class tax relief.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus later on the show said that Trump had a “great week.”
“I think he's been on message,” Priebus said. “He's shown maturity as a candidate. I think that he is getting into a groove. I think he likes the new style that he has been out on the campaign trail producing and speaking of.”
Recent polls show Clinton ahead of Trump in the national race and in several battleground states.
However, Priebus expressed optimism about Trump’s recent efforts and his new campaign leadership.
“I think what you're going to see is these polls will begin to tighten in the next couple of weeks and by Labor Day or thereafter,” he said. “I think you're going to be back to an even race if we continue down this path.”