Latest Phase of Trump Campaign Faces a Test in a Public Forum

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.44.47 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Good Tuesday morning.

The Donald J. Trump news media reboot will face a crucial test on Tuesday night, as he and his family members are interviewed in a town-hall-style forum hosted by CNN before the New York primary.

Mr. Trump, a frequent guest on cable news shows, has been uncharacteristically quiet in the last few days, as his campaign tries a resetting of sorts.

It was the first Sunday in many months in which Mr. Trump had not been on a morning show. Instead, his newest senior adviser, Paul J. Manafort, was the face of the campaign in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Mr. Trump has also been less active on Twitter, and his interviews have been fewer.

Mr. Trump’s newest phase comes after a tumultuous time for the campaign. A loss to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in the Wisconsin primary was followed a few days later by losses in delegate conventions in Colorado and other states. In Michigan, however, Mr. Trump notched a victory in a sign that Mr. Manafort, the new delegate wrangler, is beginning to leave an imprint.

But Mr. Trump’s biggest problems tend to be the ones he causes himself. At a moment when he needs to develop and enhance a core message, Mr. Trump has instead said and done things that have kept people at bay.

Mr. Trump has tended to do well in settings like the CNN forum. But it is at his rallies that he has struggled, including in Rochester on Sunday, when he again railed against members of the news media, calling them dishonest. Such remarks have helped endear him to Republican primary voters, but he will need to do more to close the deal with those still uncertain about whether he will improve their lives.

What We’re Watching Today

Hillary Clinton will attend a round-table discussion in New York City about equal pay, and she will hold fund-raising events in Florida. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont will also be in New York State, holding rallies in Syracuse and Poughkeepsie and a town-hall-style event in Rochester. Mr. Trump will hold a rally at an airport in Rome, N.Y.
In addition to giving a policy speech, Gov. John R. Kasich, in New York, will visit a school for autistic children in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Mr. Cruz will hold a rally in Erie, Pa.