For all the talk about a general election pivot, Donald Trump showed Thursday that he’s still the same candidate from the primary season.
Making the case Monday for why America must be made great again, Trump’s signature policies on immigration and security were still central to his platform as planned — though rhetorically polished for a more general election-friendly presentation.
While the attacks on Hillary Clinton were plenty, the name-calling and "crooked" moniker were gone. Though the Muslim ban and plan to build a wall were still present, the words Trump used to lay them out were softer and more nuanced.
The Republican nominee, who has received push back from rivals on his famous slogan that America is already great, spent time laying out all of the problems America must still surmount — unemployment, immigration reform, and a world in a need of a leader once more.Trump took a number-driven approach to law and order, making a data-filled case for his oft-talked about wall along the Southern border, and railing against Hillary Clinton’s legacy of "death, destruction and weakness."
Trump’s plan included, as it always has, building a "great border wall to stop illegal immigration" as well as new parameters on an old policy proposal banning Muslims from entering the country.
While Trump’s policy has become convoluted since its original, unequivocal proclamation in December 2015, Thursday night brought to light more clearly Trump’s general election intentions with this ban.
Zeroing in on parameters for vetting as opposed to a blanket ban, Trump advocated suspending immigration "from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place."
He did not outline criteria or define which countries fit this description.
"I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people," he went on to say. "Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be."
The man who in the past has dubbed himself the “greatest jobs president God ever created” left his jobs and trade messages for last, promising "fair trade" that "protects our jobs and stands up to countries that cheat."
Knocking Clinton on the NAFTA and TPP international trade deals, Trump projected an alternate path, one that involves renegotiating NAFTA to get a "better deal" for America.
Trump also took the chance to remind the naysayers that he proved them wrong.
"All of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want are the same people telling you that I couldn’t be standing here tonight," he said, veering off script to jab just once more about how he "loves defeating those people."
The rally was consummately Trump. Down to the intro and outro music, the hour and sixteen minute long remarks were a classic Trump rally without the spontaneity.
Proving once and for all, that even as the nominee in the general election, Donald Trump will remain Donald Trump.