The morning after Donald Trump once again embraced his hard-line immigration posture in a shouted speech, at least four members of his two-week-old Hispanic advisory council said they might not vote for the Republican presidential nominee and warned that his harsh rhetoric would cost him the election.
At meetings Thursday on the 14th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan, the candidate’s top aides held the opposite view. They thought his tough talk on immigration — combined with a whirlwind trip to Mexico on Wednesday — had, in the words of one adviser, “won him the election.”
“How do you like our poll numbers?” Trump excitedly asked in a brief telephone interview with The Washington Post on Thursday. He rattled off recent surveys that he said show his support has inched up.
For nearly two weeks, Trump has publicly and privately debated how best to describe his immigration positions, especially when it comes to the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
He spent days floating a series of possible changes and gauging the reaction, and even visited Mexico for a few hours Wednesday in a bid to appear more presidential. But later that night, he decided to stick with the far-right positions that were key to his success in the Republican primaries and could help him cement the support of white men — one demographic where he beats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.