Ahead of Sunday’s presidential debate, the second of three, Donald Trump’s campaign is sending signals that their candidate may be more subdued and on-message than last time.
Notably, according to a Friday report from the Washington Post, Trump’s debate prep inner circle has gotten smaller. Gone is Roger Ailes, the former Fox News executive who recently resigned after allegations of sexual harassment reached a critical mass. And while the report didn’t name former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, of which he used to be a member, it said the retired military officials in Trump’s circle were on the outside as well.
And while the GOP nominee stressed “this isn’t practice, this has nothing to do with Sunday” at a Thursday night town hall—the same format as Sunday’s debate—in New Hampshire, he has held informal practice sessions with his campaign management in addition to Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus and Chris Christie, according to the Post.
Not that he wanted to: “He doesn’t like rehearsing and rehearsing,” Giuliani told the Post. “The way he wants to do a test run is by doing a real test run.” Trump has reportedly refused to “playact” a mock debate.
Trump also announced, to Page Six of all places, that he would not aim to bring up former President Bill Clinton’s sex scandals on Sunday—even though Trump himself was the one who brought up Clinton’s affairs in the “spin room,” immediately after the first debate last week.
“I want to win this election on my policies for the future, not on Bill Clinton’s past,” Trump told the tabloid on Wednesday. “Jobs, trade, ending illegal immigration, veteran care, and strengthening our military is what I really want to be talking about.”