NTK dives into Trump’s prior debate performances – and his recent campaigning – ahead of Monday night’s big debate, to see which Donald Trump will show up.
NTK previews the four Trumps that could show up – any one, or a combination of the four – in the showdown at Hofstra:
1) POLISHED POL
Could a polished, poised Trump show up at the debate tonight? The Clinton team seems to think so, prebutting tonight’s debate with the claim that Trump is now a “creation” of campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Trump was similarly subdued in a press conference with Mexican President Nieto after their meeting, but we could see something like Trump’s opening statement at the very first debate: on-message, but calm and collected.
2) DEFIANT DON
At one point or another, Trump will be confronted with some of the controversial statements he has made in this campaign. When Trump was backed into a corner in GOP debates, he showed a tendency to fight it out:
Trump could bring his combative style to both Clinton and moderator Lester Holt tonight.
3) CONSPIRACY CONSERVATIVE
Trump made waves over the weekend by inviting Bill Clinton mistress Gennifer Flowers to the debate. Trump could bring up Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, or any number of real and alleged scandals the Clintons are tied to.
In the GOP debates, Trump dealt freely in conspiracy theories – including the highly-refuted vaccines/autism theory:
4) TIMID TRUMP
USA Today reminds readers that Trump had a good feel for “ball control” after 11 GOP debates, both the ability to hang back as his primary opponents fought it out and draw out his answers with filler phrases and tangents.
We’re less likely to see this Trump tonight because he’s one of two people on the stage, and Clinton could repeatedly try to bait him into mistakes. Don’t be surprised, though, if Clinton ends up talking more than Trump.
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