Making another one of his paid appearances as a CNN contributor late Wednesday night, former Trump campaign manager made no bones about the fact that Trump’s big immigration speech was aimed at white men.
“Look, I think Donald Trump’s message tonight was the message that he started with back on June of 2015, which was ‘America First,’” Lewandkowski said. “That’s what he believes, and what he is playing to — and if you look at the polling data, he’s got about an 18 point lead in the demographic of white males who are voting in this election.”
“They have a high propensity of voting, and so he’s got about an 18 point lead on Hillary Clinton in that particular demographic,” he continued. “This speech is clearly geared at those individuals right now, to make sure they are there, he has locked them in for the election.”
Lewandowski did go on to mention that, if Trump wants to win the general election, he will have to “expand” to appeal to broader swaths of voters.
Polls have consistently shown Trump solidly ahead of Hillary Clinton in the white male demographic, but trailing overall thanks to his deep unpopularity with other groups.
Before yesterday’s focus on immigration, Trump had spent weeks attempting to court black voters by making a case that their lives are terrible so they have nothing to lose by voting for him. A recent poll showing Trump with zero percent favorability among African Americans suggests it didn’t go well.
In the days leading up to last night’s speech, Trump surrogates pushed the notion he might be shifting to a more “humane” approach to immigration, perhaps in an effort to appeal to Latino voters who say immigration reform is one of their top concerns.
But the hard-line message he delivered on Wednesday, including a proposal to create an expanded deportation task force, indicated his message hasn’t changed from what he said in the speech launching his campaign, when he called Mexicans who illegally cross the border “rapists” and “criminals.”
Lewandowski has come under new scrutiny in recent days in light of reports revealing his firm is still being paid by Trump and that he continues to serve as a campaign adviser. An ABC News report published Monday cites “multiple campaign sources” in reporting that Lewandowski “is back in the fold” and has a relationship with Trump that is “stronger than ever.” CNN continues to pay him to make appearances as a political commentator nonetheless.