WATERBURY, Conn. — Donald Trump on Saturday addressed reports that he’s being encouraged to modify his campaign trail demeanor by family members and by his team, imitating what a “more presidential” candidate would act like.
He assured the crowd: “I sort of don’t like toning it down.”
Trump told his audience that new additions to his circle, like senior aide Paul Manafort, are “supplementing” the team that he already has in place, while noting that he is being pressured to be more “presidential” by those close to him.
“My wife tells me to be more presidential, my daughter tells me to be more presidential and Paul Manafort and Corey (Lewandowski) and a lot of them say, ‘Be more presidential,’ and now people are starting to say, ‘You know, look what got you here,’” Trump told his crowd of more than 3,000 in a gymnasium at Crosby High School.
Trump even included his own imitation of a presidential candidate, doing a slow walk up to the podium and standing tall with his shoulders back as he glanced around the gymnasium, adding, “I can do presidential folks, believe me,” and that it was “easy.”
“Paul was down in Florida said he said, ‘You know, Donald might be changing a little bit over a period of time, and maybe he’ll tone it down, maybe he won’t, but who knows what happens,’” Trump noted of recent reports. “I sort of don’t like toning it down.”
He also defended accusations that he acts differently when he's in a room compared to out in public.
“When I’m in a room, talking, you’re one way, when I’m out here talking to you people, I’ve gotta be different, alright," he said.
Trump hit back against Texas senator and GOP rival Ted Cruz for picking up on the insinuation that he's two-faced.
“Lyin’ Ted, he goes, ‘Donald Trump is kidding everybody. He’s different on the trail. He said, and he said that he’s gonna do things differently and he’s not gonna build the wall.’ What the hell does this have to do with the wall? Believe me, I’m building the wall,” Trump said.
Trump’s attacks on Cruz didn’t stop there. He returned to questioning how the senator’s birth in Canada would affect the race and then took aim at his other Republican rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, pointing out the “millions of votes” he has more than Kasich and said the governor should change the spelling of his name so it’s easier to pronounce.
The GOP front-runner then urged both Kasich and Cruz to exit the race and make way for his path to the nomination. “Now, they’re both mathematically eliminated,” he declared. “They should drop out.”
While Trump was tough on his current opponents, he praised a former one, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, repeatedly calling him “a good guy” with “a good future.”
As the crowd roared, Trump even boasted about his own blood pressure levels: “I actually have low blood pressure — can you believe it?”
This was Trump’s first Connecticut event of the day before a later rally in Bridgeport. He touched on several issues concerning local voters, including GE’s decision to leave and move to Massachusetts, while also telling the crowd about how much he loved campaigning in the South.
“If Connecticut doesn’t come through with me, I’m moving to the South,” he told the audience, joking, “To hell with Connecticut!” he said.
There was a very small group of protesters outside the venue, and two people were escorted out during the rally as the crowd remained peaceful throughout the event.