I won’t go so far as to say Trump choked, as at least he didn’t apologize or retract his comments about the Mexican judge, but he does appear to be feeling the pressure more than he did previously:
“It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent,” Trump said. “I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”
Trump added that he’s “watched as the media has reported one inaccuracy after another concerning the ongoing litigation involving Trump University.” The statement doesn’t amount to a repudiation of his earlier comments, but it shows a tacit acknowledgment that he should tamp down his rhetoric.
Media-to-English Translation: he didn’t give us enough to properly nail him, but we’re going to see what we can make of it anyhow.
It’s tough when you suddenly feel that you’ve got something to lose. Someone in the Trump camp needs to remind him that he’s been at his best when free-wheeling and damning the torpedoes. He can survive any number of PC-violating gaffes, but the one thing that can definitely cost him the election is a failure of nerve.
The challenge is that he’s now got all sorts of advisers who are telling him to tone it down, to play the moderate, and to try to appeal to people who are never going to support him anyhow. He will have to find the self-confidence to blow them off and play the game his way.