The New York Times reports: As his poll numbers have declined in the closing weeks of the presidential race, Donald J. Trump has begun to engage in barely veiled promotions of his business brand off the campaign trail, dragging reporters to his marquee properties in between his campaign events.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump added an abrupt appearance at the Trump National Doral, one of his gilded golf courses and resorts in Florida, ostensibly to demonstrate how many employees he has there and how much they admire him as a boss.
On Wednesday, instead of spending the morning in one of the battleground states where polls show him trailing Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump planned to attend a ribbon-cutting at his elaborately remade hotel at the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
The stops are a remarkable display of personal promotion by a presidential nominee, raising questions about whether the businessman, who has lived by the mantra that “all publicity is good publicity,” is at least partly casting his eye past the 2016 race, and toward bolstering the brand that bears his name.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Trump rejected such questions and said he was demonstrating his credentials for the presidency at such events by showing the type of efficiencies he would bring to government.
“Today it was about jobs. Tomorrow it’s about being under budget and ahead of schedule,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the Washington hotel.
His critics saw a different motive.
“This is the worst message to send to all of those true and loyal Trump supporters out there who actually did believe in him and actually did have a stake in this election,” said Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee.
“With less than two weeks to go until Election Day,” Mr. Madden added, “Mr. Trump is repaying them by using their campaign to showcase his hotel. He said he wouldn’t let them down, but he already has. They have a right to be disappointed.” [Continue reading…]