But at a campaign rally in Indianapolis the following day, Trump was back to his old tricks.
There was a brief glimmer of the “presidential” Trump early in the afternoon rally when a heckler interrupted the candidate’s opening remarks. “Get ’em out! Get ’em out,” Trump called to his security personnel. But instead of his usual rough-em-up talk, Trump added this time, “Don’t hurt ’em, of course.”
“Never ends. It never ends. But it does make it exciting,” Trump said of the disruptive demonstrations that have come to characterize his campaign events, sometimes sparking violence.
But he quickly disappointed all those pundits who thought they smelled a Trump strategy to be more presidential in his New York speech, in which he referred to his GOP rival as “Senator Cruz” and not the usual “Lyin’ Ted.”
In his first public remarks on Wednesday, Trump was right back at it: “In the case of Lyin’ Ted Cruz – Lyin’ Ted – he brings the Bible, holds it high, puts it down, lies.”
And Trump trotted out again the moniker he recently assigned Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton. “I love running against crooked Hillary. Better. Better. Bernie wouldn’t be much fun.”
The GOP front-runner has been promising for months to show the press and the public that he really can be “presidential,” and many politicos argued he proved just that with his speech Tuesday night. “Stepping out with his family to the brassy strains of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York,’ Trump sounded like a more disciplined candidate as he claimed victory in a short statement at Trump Tower. Gone were Trump’s signature personal insults; he referred to ‘Senator Cruz,’ not ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ ” write The Washington Post‘s Jenna Johnson and Philip Rucker.
“He seems to have heeded advice from his wife and daughters to tone down his rhetoric,” Johnson writes in another article. “He is tweeting less, skipping the Sunday news shows where pointed questions have recently tripped him up, reading from notes at rallies and refocusing on the economic issues that first brought him success early in the campaign. There are plans for him to soon give a series of policy speeches, perhaps with the assistance of a teleprompter – a device that to him once symbolized the bloodless establishment.”
Twitter, too, was impressed by Trump’s turn for the presidential.
But other Twitter users were still skeptical.
One of Trump’s top surrogates warned voters that they hadn’t heard the last of “Lyin’ Ted.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure to erase that,” senior adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier Wednesday in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on New Day. “My guess is it will still pop up from time to time.”
That didn’t take long.