- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 20, 2016

Real estate mogul Donald Trump has cleaned up his act, reassuring voters ahead of Saturday’s primary in South Carolina that he can tone down to a G rating if elected president of the United States.

The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination’ use of profanity on the stump, including dropping F-bombs and calling rival Sen. Ted Cruz a “p****,” repulsed even some of his die-hard fans and appeared to be costing him votes.

Mr. Trump acknowledged the need to censor himself when describing how he will crack down on Ford Motor Company for moving manufacturing plants to Mexico. He vowed to slap heavy import taxes on its cars and stand up to Ford executive and lobbyists who try to dissuade him.

“I’ll say, ‘Nope. Every time you sell a lousy truck. Every time you —,’ You see how I’ve cleaned up my act. I don’t use bad language anymore,” the billionaire businessman and realty TV star said at a rally Friday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

He apparently stopped himself from saying something more colorful than “lousy.”

“I won’t. I won’t,” Mr. Trump said. “Because I don’t even have to use bad words, and I get in trouble.”

The demonstration of restraint becomes increasingly important for Mr. Trump as he looks to shore up support to score a key win in South Carolina, where a decisive victory likely puts him on a fast track toward the GOP nomination.

Mr. Trump continued to talk tough about negotiating better trade deals and confronting foreign foes, but he did it without the occasional profanity that threatened to give supporters second thought and turn off general election voters.

Still, Mr. Trump did not put the profanity issue to rest without assigning some of the blame to the news media. He said the TV news sometimes make it look as if he is cussing when he doesn’t.

“You know that I did one a week ago in New Hampshire where I said, ‘Ahhh.’ I just went, ‘Ahhh.’ I didn’t say it,” Mr. Trump said. “In other words, I refused to say the words. And these guys bleeped it on television and everybody thought I said the word. They said, ‘His language is terrible.’ I never said the word! You can check it. I never said the word.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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