Brand Promotions Suggest Donald Trump Is Looking Past Election Day

MAGGIE HABERMAN AND NICK CORASANITI

Wednesday, October 26, 2016Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.08.40

Good Wednesday morning.
As his poll numbers have declined in the closing weeks of the presidential race, Donald J. Trump has begun to engage in barely veiled promotions of his business brand off the campaign trail, dragging reporters to his marquee properties in between his campaign events.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump added an appearance at the Trump National Doral, one of his gilded golf courses and resorts in Florida, ostensibly to demonstrate how many employees he has there and how much they admire him as a boss.
On Wednesday, instead of spending the morning in one of the battleground states where polls show him trailing Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump planned to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his elaborately refurbished hotel at the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
The stops are a remarkable display of personal promotion by a presidential nominee, raising questions about whether the businessman, who has lived by the mantra that “all publicity is good publicity,” is at least partly casting his eye past the 2016 race and toward bolstering the brand that bears his name.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Trump rejected such questions and said he was demonstrating his credentials for the presidency by showing the type of efficiencies he would bring to government.
“Today it was about jobs,” he said, referring to the Washington hotel. “Tomorrow it’s about being under budget and ahead of schedule.”
His critics saw a different motive.
“This is the worst message to send to all of those true and loyal Trump supporters out there who actually did believe in him and actually did have a stake in this election,” said Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee.
During the Republican primaries, Mr. Trump often used his properties as a backdrop for election night news conferences.
But those news conferences were at least passably tethered to the rhythms of the election cycle.
Mr. Trump’s event on Tuesday at Doral, and the ceremony on Wednesday at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, had nothing to do with the daily grind of the final two weeks of the national campaign, burning valuable time that could have been spent courting voters.
The Doral event was announced with little notice, on Tuesday morning.
“Would anybody like to say a few words about working for Trump?” Mr. Trump asked members of his housekeeping staff and other employees in front of nearly two dozen members of the news media.
When an employee took Mr. Trump up on his request, the candidate joked, “Better say good, or I’ll say, ‘You’re fired!’ ”
Recordings of Donald J. Trump reveal a man who is fixated on his own celebrity, anxious about losing his status and contemptuous of those who fall from grace.

Damon Winter/The New York Times
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Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
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Donald J. Trump with employees of the Trump National Doral resort in Miami on Tuesday.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times
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Emily Berl for The New York Times
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For many black Americans, Mr. Trump is a familiar figure whose candidacy has exposed the diminishing words they have heard their whole lives.

On the Trail

Mr. Trump will attend the opening of his new hotel in Washington, D.C., and will hold a rally in North Carolina. Mike Pence will hold rallies in Colorado, Nevada and Utah, a red state where polls show a tight race.
Mrs. Clinton has two rallies in Florida, and Tim Kaine will be in Pennsylvania.
There are 13 days until Election Day.
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Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina surveying the firebombed state Republican Party office last week in Hillsborough. He is in a tough re-election bid against the state’s attorney general, Roy Cooper.

Chris Keane/Reuters
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Lauren Justice for The New York Times
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Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times
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What We’re Reading Elsewhere

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With the news that health care premiums will rise drastically next year, CNN takes a look at the candidates’ positions on the Affordable Care Act.
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