Donald Trump promised Thursday in Louisiana that he would not use any foul language throughout the rest of his presidential campaign, less than a day after a morning TV show embarrassed him with a focus group that reacted harshly to video of him swearing during his speeches.
‘I’ll never do it again, actually,’ he told a crowd of more than 13,500 in Baton Rouge. ‘And I’ll never even copy somebody, what they ask me to say. Right?’
But less than 20 minutes later, while excoriating the Obama administration for its unwillingness to address ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ head-on, The Donald fell off the cursing wagon.
NEVER AGAIN (ALMOST): Donald Trump said he’d never swear in his speeches again, and then tossed out two ‘damneds’ and two ‘c**ps’ before he was finished speaking
YUUUGE CROWD: Trump took a victory lap after his impressive New Hampshire primary win
FANS OF ALL AGES: Trump’s rally was an audience-participation exercise, with chants of both ‘USA! USA!’ and ‘LSU! LSU!’
‘We’ve got a problem,’ he said. ‘And we damned well better figure out what the problem is!’
In the following half-hour, slamming his GOP rivals for a new slate of attack ads aimed at him, he asked his audience to pay them no heed.
‘I just hope you don’t believe their c**p! Because it’s all c**p!’ he barked, using a word that rhymes with ‘slap.’
And recalling his reaction to a lackluster campaign by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, he told the multitudes assembled in the Baton Rouge River Center arena: ‘I said, “Dammit, I’m going to do it myself”.’
Those bits of uncouth language, still, were a far cry from what he said Monday night in New Hampshire, on the eve of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
That night, a crowd of 5,000 was treated to the spectacle of Trump repeating comments from a supporter who yelled that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was ‘a p***y’ for hedging on the acceptability of waterboarding as an interrogation technique.
On Thursday he was blasting the Obama administration for putting ‘political hacks’ in charge of sensitive economic negotiations that affect the United States.
‘They get their jobs by –’ he said, seeming to be headed for a claim about kissing someone’s posterior region.
And then Trump changed direction in mere milliseconds.
BEATING THE BUSHES: Trump said taking mom Barbara Bush (right) on the campaign trail didn’t help Jeb Bush, and hit former President George W. Bush (left) for taking America to war in Iraq
‘COMMON SENSE’: Boos rang out at every mention of Democratic names like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama
‘I won’t use foul language. I’m just not going to do it,’ he declared as his crowd yelled a mixed verdict. ‘They’re all saying, “Do it! Do it!” No. No.’
‘They get their jobs because they give campaign contributions to politicians. Because they’re very nice to politicians. That’s better, right? Instead of – right?’ he asked, returning to his narrative abuot political appointees.
‘A woman here is on my side,’ he insisted. ‘You’re right. She says don’t do it. Right? Don’t do it.’
‘Because they always have – even if it’s not a bad word, if it’s a little bit off, they kill me.’
Trump’s broadsides at George W. Bush came during a block of his speech devoted to lambasting his younger brother Jeb, who is running radio ads in South Carolina featuring both his own voice and that of the 43rd U.S. president.
‘You have people running like a Jeb Bush,’ Trump said, drawing boos.
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL: Trump’s free-wheeling rally was a love fest with his audience of 13.500 eating up every word
CAJUN COUNTRY: Trump’s Baton Rouge speech was his first in the Louisiana capital and comes in advance of a March 5 primary
‘Don’t fall asleep when I mention his name, please. … Boy oh boy, that’s a low-energy individual, folks.’
‘And I see he’s bringing his brother in now,’ Trump said. ‘He’s bringing his brother in now. He tried his mother, which is – she’s a very nice lady, I think – but he tried the mother. That didn’t work out so good. Now he’s bringing in his brother.’
‘Uh – I won’t say anything,’ Trump continued, pulling back for a moment. ‘I’m going to save that for after his brother makes a statement.’
But just as quickly as he held his tongue, Trump let it fly.
‘There’s plenty to say about what happened, okay?’ he insisted. ‘Especially that last three months. And especially getting us in that quicksand. You know, we got in quicksand.’
‘I was against the war in Iraq. We have to be given credit for vision. I was against the war in Iraq ’cause I said it would totally destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what happened. The Middle East is destabilized. And that was a horrible call to go in. And it was a horrible call that Obama made when he got out the way he got out.’
Trump was merciless to Jeb Bush
‘Poor Jeb! He spent $20 million on negative ads,’ he said, before saying the former Florida governor is ‘like a child’ for complaining about his unconventional campaigning style..
In general, Trump said, ‘I won’t talk about my opponents. There’s not much to talk about.’
OOPS? Bush urged Baton Rouge Republicans to vote for him on ‘SEC Primary’ day, March 1, even though the state primary election is actually days later
Thursday’s rally, while not Trump’s first in the deep south, is a sign that his campaign isn’t taking for granted that his strong polling lead in South Carolina will replicate itself all across the Gulf states.
But he didn’t seem to know when Louisiana’s primary election will be.
After a hat-tip to the hometown Louisiana State University football program – ‘Good team, good coach, good everything! – and a chorus of ‘LSU! LSU! LSU!’ from the audience, he urged them to support him.
‘We’ve got a big SEC day coming up. You’ve gotta get out and vote, folks,’ he said.
The ‘SEC Primary’ day, March 1, will see presidential primary elections held in 11 states including eight in the south whose college sports teams play in the South Eastern Conference.
But even though LSU plays in the SEC, its primary is on March 5.
‘SEC day!’ Trump said again as he closed his speech. ‘So important that you get out and vote.’
Woody Jenkins, Trump’s Louisiana co-chairman and a Republican convert who challenged Sen. Mary Landrieu for her seat in 1996, warmed up the crowd on Thursday with good-old-boy charm.
‘His real name is Donald John Trump,’ he said, but ‘we’re here in the deep south, in Louisiana, and everybody has a nickname.’
‘Maybe we should call him Donny John,’ Jenkins said.
‘Maybe we’d have some Trump Towers in Baton Rouge.’