Donald Trump made peace with the Republican leadership on Friday by endorsing Speaker Paul Ryan and senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte who are running for re-election.
His rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, continued her struggles with gaining people’s trust, telling reporters in Washington DC she had “short-circuited” her response to an earlier question about her emails.
But she has widened her lead over Trump in recent polls, nationally and in some of the crucial swing states that could determine the outcome of the presidential race.
Republican nominee Trump, on the other hand, has been seen to be squandering whatever chances Clinton offered by embroiling himself in needless confrontations, such as his outrageous spat with the Muslim American couple, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who spoke at the Democratic convention.
He then sent his party leadership into panic by refusing to endorse Ryan, the party’s senior-most elected official, and Senators McCain, a highly respected figure, and Ayotte.
“We will have disagreements, but we will disagree as friends and never stop working together toward victory. And very importantly, toward real change,” Trump said on Saturday. “So in our shared mission, to make America great again, I support and endorse our speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.”
He went on to also endorse McCain and Ayotte.
Trump was reading from a piece of paper and looked like a completely different man from when he delivers a prepared speech. He seemed caged, which was probably a good thing — to his advisers and supporters, at least, who have been frustrated by his ad-libbed gaffes and non sequiturs. He stayed on message on Friday, most experts noted, by focussing on Clinton.
He called her the “queen of corruption” and said, “In one way she's a monster … In another way she's a weak person. She's actually not strong enough to be president.”
Despite her lead over Trump in polls, the Democratic nominee is unable to shake off the controversy over her use of a private email server and continues to muddle her answers about it, compounding her trust problem.
When asked about her claim last week that the FBI had found her statements about her email “truthful”, when, in fact, it had not, she said on Friday she may have “short-circuited” her reply.
Asked why most Americans don’t trust her, Clinton referred to her high popularity as secretary of state, to assert that whenever she is running her rivals “stir up as much trouble as possible”.
Clinton was taking questions at a rare news briefing.