Trump tries to skirt controversies ahead of New York primary

GOP 2016 Trump Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Rochester, NY, on Sunday | AP
  • After bruising defeat in the Wisconsin primary last week, Trump has spent the days since his homecoming rally on Wednesday night cloistered in Trump Tower.

Controversy-prone Donald Trump is trying something new ahead of the key Republican primary here: keeping mum and trying to stay focused.

With a commanding lead in the latest polls ahead of the New York primary on April 19, the Republican front-runner is dodging the spotlight, US media reported.

After a series of unforced errors and controversies culminated in a bruising double-digit defeat in the Wisconsin primary last week, Trump has spent the days since his homecoming rally on Wednesday night cloistered in Trump Tower huddling with aides, retooling his campaign operation and—most importantly—skirting controversy, CNN reported.

In his only public outing between his Wednesday and Sunday rallies in New York, Trump, 69, got into his motorcade and went to the World Trade Center, where he visited the 9/11 museum.

Despite a pack of reporters who trailed him to the site, Trump—who can rarely resist the glare of trailing cameras—let his actions, which included a USD 100,000 donation to the museum, speak louder than his words, silently returning to Trump Tower.

And Trump on Sunday—for the first time in more than four months—did not appear on or call into any news programme, leaving a vacuum that allowed the political narrative to shift from that of a campaign in disarray to one getting its act together.

"Lying low for a few days might play to his advantage to get his campaign organised and focused," CNN quoted Republican strategist Ron Bonjean as saying.

Even Trump's tweets struck a less inflammatory tone over the weekend. While the real estate mogul expressed frustration with Colorado's delegate awarding system, his message seemed more measured in comparison to the reactions from his Twitter feed during the rest of the campaign cycle.

"I win a state in votes and then get non-representative delegates because they are offered all sorts of goodies by Cruz campaign. Bad system!" Trump wrote, adding later, "How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger - totally unfair!"

While his Republican rivals in New York are scrambling to pick at Trump's massive home state advantage, Bonjean said the real estate mogul "can only go down."

"If he were just to stop talking right now until the New York primary, he would probably win it hands down. The danger for Trump is he could talk himself out of delegates," Bonjean said.

Meanwhile, a string of surveys of New York Republicans have shown Trump above the 50 per cent threshold needed to clinch all of New York's statewide delegates.

Trump could pick up the full slate of New York's 95 Republican delegates if he matches that support in each of New York's 27 congressional districts -- where a total of 81 delegates are at stake.

Following the Colorado results, Trump has 743 delegates, Ted Cruz 540 and John Kasich 143. Trump needs 1,237 delegates to win the Republican Party presidential nomination.

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