A delicate approach to the candidate is now in the works. Before his advisers can shape Mr. Trump’s performance for the next debate, on Oct. 9 in St. Louis, they need to convince him that he can do better than he did in the first one and that only a disciplined, strategic attack can damage Mrs. Clinton with voters. …Mr. Trump, for his part, sought to blame everything but himself. During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, he charged that the moderator, Lester Holt of NBC News, had become overly aggressive with him — although he inaccurately said that Mr. Holt had questioned him over a 1973 federal discrimination lawsuit against Mr. Trump’s company. (Mrs. Clinton had raised the lawsuit question.) He also suggested that his performance was related to a faulty mike — even though he was perfectly audible during the telecast — and that he may have been the victim of sabotage.And at a rally in Florida later that evening, he ripped Mrs. Clinton in scathing terms that he declined to use when they were face to face.
In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton. And he wants them to stop it immediately.The message was “not subtle,” a source familiar with the call said.Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn’t nail it. … Ahead of their October 9 town hall style debate in St. Louis, part of the problem, one source said, is that Trump doesn’t yet seem to grasp that he needs to expand his base of supporters to bring in new voters who are not yet sold on his temperament, policy positions or readiness to be president.When Trump was told Tuesday that he should do some things differently, he responded that his approach is what his base likes.