Sunday 25 February 2018

Trump's team plays down poll giving Clinton eight-point lead

Giuliani: “There is certainly every opportunity for Trump to win this election.” Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Giuliani: “There is certainly every opportunity for Trump to win this election.” Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Emily Stephenson

Republican Donald Trump's top aides and supporters have downplayed a chaotic week for the New York tycoon after a new poll showed him trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton by eight points.

A 'Washington Post'/ABC News poll at the weekend found Clinton leading among registered voters, with 50pc of support, in the week after the Democratic Party's convention, where she was formally named the presidential nominee. Trump was on 42pc.

"Everyone should calm down about it," said Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor. "There is certainly every opportunity for Trump to win this election."

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday showed the race as being much closer, with Clinton leading by just three percentage points. The poll had a credibility interval of plus or minus three percentage points, meaning that the results showed the race as being roughly even.

Trump backers said voters were just starting to tune into the race for the November 8 election. They said Trump (pictured inset) was back on message after a week of disputes with members of his own party and the parents of a Muslim American soldier who was killed in Iraq.

Those assurances came despite Trump's tendency throughout his campaign to battle his own party and make controversial remarks.

"He is very focused. He knows what he needs to do. I am confident that he's going to start doing it," Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, told Fox News, denying reports that there had been an "emergency meeting" to get Trump on message.

Leaders in Trump's own party distanced themselves from his spat with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star parents who criticised Trump at the Democratic National Convention.

And Republicans were incensed when he initially refused to endorse US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and two US senators in their re-election bids.

He later said that he supported all three.

Former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump backer, told Fox News that the candidate had made mistakes but that Clinton had made the greater error in her explanations of her use of a private server while she was secretary of state from 2009-2013.

Clinton said at the weekend that she had "short-circuited" a week earlier, when she claimed that the FBI Director, James Comey, had said she had been truthful to the American people about her email server.

In fact, Comey contradicted many statements that Clinton had made about the server.

"I'll take the week. She managed to trump Trump in terms of mistakes," Gingrich said.

US Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton's vice-presidential running mate, defended her email answers on NBC's 'Meet the Press'.

"The bottom line is this. She made a mistake and she said over and over again, 'I made a mistake and I've learned from it and I'm going to fix it, and I apologise for it,'" Kaine said.

Meanwhile, Hollywood superstar Will Smith has waded into the presidential election, saying he believes it is important "to speak out about the insanity" surrounding the race.

Trump had said earlier in the campaign that he would temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, sparking outcry, particularly in Dubai, where he has lent his name to several high-profile real-estate projects.

"As painful as it is to hear Donald Trump talk and as embarrassing as it is as an American to hear him talk, I think it's good," Smith said as he visited Dubai to promote his new movie, 'Suicide Squad'.

He continued: "We get to know who people are and now we get to cleanse it out of our country."

The actor said he believed it was his responsibility to create an impression with people "where, when they see a black man, the energy that we had can be what they remember.

"They have to know that your black skin won't hurt them," he said, recalling advice he had received years ago from the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Irish Independent

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