WASHINGTON - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has kept a lower public profile in recent days, but remains a focal point of the nation’s political discussion. But despite having cut back on campaign events and speaking engagements, he continues to dominate America’s political and media landscape.
From impersonations on late-night comedy shows to political talk shows, viewers cannot escape Trump on U.S. television or fail to hear him mentioned at almost any political event.
Democratic presidential contenders take aim at the New York businessman at every turn.
“I am looking forward to debating Donald Trump come the fall,” Hillary Clinton, leading Democratic presidential candidate, said at a recent rally.
Clinton’s rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, admitted that on the topic of Trump he is in agreement with the former secretary of state.
“While we may have many disagreements with secretary Clinton, there is one area [where] we agree. And that is, we must defeat Donald Trump,” said Sanders, also speaking at a rally.
Meanwhile, almost every elected Republican in the country is being asked the same question, "Do you support Trump?"
Last week’s private meeting between Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan generated a media frenzy, but no clear-cut answers.
“We had a very encouraging meeting,” said Ryan of his meeting with the real estate tycoon-turned politician, but he remained tight-lipped on substance.
“Look, it is no secret that Donald Trump and I have had our differences. We talked about those differences today,” he said.
Ryan did concede the fascination with Trump is no surprise.
“He has gotten more votes than any Republican primary nominee, right, in the history of our country. And this is not even over yet. He has not gone to California yet,” Ryan said of the pace at which Trump was picking up votes in state-by-state nominating contests.
The White House had a different take. Spokesman Josh Earnest took issue with the fact that the spectacle surrounding Trump’s persona took away attention from other important matters.
“Right now, we see Republicans much more focused on their relationship with the presumptive nominee than they are on things like passing a budget or passing funding for the Zika virus to avert a public health disaster,” Earnest said.
Political analysts say it was Trump’s dominance of the media landscape that has helped him defeat more than a dozen other Republican presidential contenders earlier this year. That dominance continues today as Trump focuses on his likely Democratic opponent, Clinton, saying that he is the last person she wants to run against in the November election.