It was one of those brief exchanges that perfectly summed up the current mood in the campaign. The moment when Donald Trump tries to soften his approach and still be tough. And when evangelicals want to (politely) ask him to ease up on the punches.
Following Donald Trump’s speech to evangelical Republicans at the Road to the Majority Conference in Washington Friday, a handful of leading pastors and conservative Christian leaders met privately with the apparent nominee.
Richard Lee, a well-known minister and national religious broadcaster, was among them. The evangelical leader told PBS NewsHour that he saw Trump’s speech as reassuring – offering more specific commitments to the religious right.
And then Lee relayed a story of an exchange after the speech, with the smaller group of Christian leaders.
“Someone made some comment about well, perhaps you shouldn’t be so abrasive in certain ways,” Lee recalled, “And (Trump) very frankly said, well, ‘Thank you for that, I’ll try to do that better, but I am who I am.’”
It was a softer Trump, but, the candidate was telegraphing, the same essential Trump.