Two of Donald Trump’s defining features as a politician are his utter inability to stay on message and his addiction to self-flattering lies. On Monday, the former quality overwhelmed the latter, and for one brief moment the Republican nominee conceded to the reality of his situation.
For days, Trump has campaigned on a consistent, if contradictory, message: “The election is rigged, but also I’m winning it.” The mogul began his Monday by expressing this sentiment in fewer than 140 characters.
But then, on WBT’s “Charlotte Morning News,” the GOP nominee veered off message.
“I guess I’m somewhat behind in the polls but not by much,” Trump told the radio program, Politico reports. “I mean, in your state, I’m 1 point, 2 points, and even in three polls. One point, 2 points, and even.”
While Trump is behind by “much” nationally, his description of where he stands in North Carolina is not wildly out of step with the truth. As of this writing, Clinton leads Trump by 2.4 points in RealClearPolitics’ polling average of the Tarheel State.
On Sunday, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told NBC’s Meet the Press, “We’re behind.” After Trump took the first step to recovery (admitting you have a problem), Conway sent a celebratory tweet:
But by Monday afternoon, Trump had fallen off the wagon and gotten back on message.
“I actually think we’re winning,” he told a group of farmers in Boynton Beach, Florida, explaining that he was only “behind in the polls” because the media promotes “phony polls” that oversample Democrats.
“I think African-Americans are gonna be voting for me in large numbers because I’m gonna fix the problems that — I mean, the problems are incredible in the inner cities,” Trump went on to say, easing back into his world of delusion, where the corrupt Establishment is always trying and failing to keep him down, the place where he and his base feel most at home.