Friday, Donald Trump's "thank you" tour brought him to Florida. Approximately 18 minutes into his speech, the president-elect mentioned Hillary Clinton, and a number of people in the crowd began shouting the familiar "lock her up!" chant. Others followed suit, and soon it became so loud that Trump had to take a moment to calm things down.
In order to quell the fervor, he tried to pivot:
"Oh, that's so terrible...Four weeks ago--just prior to, always prior to--you people were vicious, violent, screaming: 'Where's the Wall! We want the Wall!' Screaming: 'Prison, prison! Lock her up!' I mean, you are going crazy. I mean, you were nasty, and mean, and vicious, and you wanted to win, right?
...but now, now it's much different. Now, you're laid back, you're cool, you're mellow, right? You're basking in the glory of victory, and we're already getting to work. You see what we did with Carrier--we're saving a lot of jobs in many, many places. We've got a lot of things going on...you're mellow, you're cool, and you're not nearly as vicious or violent, right?"
Prior to winning the presidency, Donald Trump promised a great many things that his detractors believed were, at best, implausible: appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, banning all Muslims from entering the United States (a position on which he moderated over the final months of the campaign), deporting 11 million illegal immigrants--to name a few.
Trump knows he needs to outrun the hounds, and his remarks in Florida are indicative of that. He knows he promised much more than he can accomplish, both logistically and legally, and that his most ardent supporters need to be tempered.
When he doesn't "lock her up," when he doesn't deport 11 million illegal immigrants, when he doesn't fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump needs his supporters to remain on his side. Remarks like the ones he offered in Florida are a means of softening the eventual blow.
Watch for similar pivoting going forward.