Donald Trump has cleared his public schedule for the next few days, canceling a Friday press conference in California and skipping the Colorado GOP State Convention on Saturday. A campaign spokeswoman told some media outlets that Trump plans to instead focus on New York, his home state that will host a GOP primary on April 19.
Earlier this week, Trump announced that he would host a Friday afternoon press conference at his golf course outside Los Angeles. California's GOP primary is still weeks away on June 7, but it carries the heavy influence of 172 delegates. The campaign had also started to make plans for a Thursday night rally in Colorado Springs but then stopped, according to local reports. Colorado Republicans will select their national convention delegates at a state convention in Colorado Springs on Saturday, and Trump will not be in attendance, according to state party officials.
After months of campaigning at a breakneck speed, crisscrossing the country in his private jet to appear at back-to-back-to-back rallies, Trump has dramatically slowed down in the past few weeks and took a full week off the trail around Easter. But the change in schedule is not an indication that Trump is lacking energy, spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email to The Washington Post on Thursday.
"Mr. Trump is working extremely hard, both on the campaign, which remains his primary focus, and on the multibillion-dollar company he is still running," Hicks wrote. She would not say what Trump will be doing in the coming days. In a statement widely reported by several publications on Thursday but not sent to The Post, Hicks said: “Mr. Trump has rescheduled his California trip and will be campaigning in New York. He looks forward to returning to California in the weeks ahead."
Trump's latest break from the campaign trail comes at a crucial time for his campaign, which seemed to have been on the fast-track to winning the Republican nomination last month but is now fighting to keep its delegates from changing loyalties in what is expected to be a contested GOP convention in Cleveland in July. The campaign has quickly assembled a team of staffers to confront this problem, and Trump's campaign manager said Wednesday that he plans to soon announce the hiring of several "seasoned operatives" and "well-known, established names" to help with this effort. Trump also plans to increase his outreach to prominent Republicans in Washington, especially lawmakers and think tanks, and will soon open a campaign office there.
Early Thursday afternoon, Trump announced that he is expanding the responsibilities of one of his newest hires, Paul Manafort, a lobbyist who has worked for several presidents but most recently has been focused on politics overseas. Manafort will now "oversee, manage, and be responsible for all activities that pertain to Mr. Trump’s delegate process and the Cleveland Convention" and work "closely" with Trump's campaign manager and deputy campaign manager, according to a statement.
“The nomination process has reached a point that requires someone familiar with the complexities involved in the final stages," Trump is quoted as saying in the statement. "I am organizing these responsibilities under someone who has done this job successfully in many campaigns. This will allow the rest of my team to deal with the increasing needs of a national campaign for both the pre-convention phase and most importantly, the general election."
The statement said that Trump is "currently campaigning in New York."