WASHINGTON — Donald Trump isn’t making it easy for top supporters and advisers, from his running mate on down, to defend him or explain some campaign positions.

Across the Sunday news shows, a parade of Trump stand-ins, led by vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, couldn’t say whether Trump was sticking with or changing a central promise to boot the roughly 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, with the help of a “deportation force.”

And they didn’t bother defending his initial response Saturday to the killing of a mother as she walked her baby on a Chicago street.

Questioned on whether it’s a problem that the Republican presidential nominee has left key details on immigration policy unclear so late in the election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus demurred: “I just don’t speak for Donald Trump.”

It was a striking look at Trump’s leadership of a team he had said would help drive him to victory in the Nov. 8 election.

The purpose of surrogates is to speak for and back up their presidential nominee. But Team Trump has struggled to do so even as they stayed tightly together on what they know: Trump will issue more details on the immigration plan soon, the policy will be humane and despite his clear wavering, he’s been “consistent” on the issue. Any discussion of inconsistencies or potentially unpresidential tweeting, Pence and others suggested, reflected media focus on the wrong issue.

The right issue, they said, was whether Democrat Hillary Clinton crossed ethical lines during her tenure as secretary of state by talking with people outside the government who had contributed to her family’s philanthropy foundation. Priebus’ counterpart at the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile, said there’s no evidence of that. Clinton on Sunday was raising campaign money in the Hamptons, a vacation spot for the wealthy on Long Island.

Asked whether the “deportation force” proposal Trump laid out in November is still in place, Pence replied: “Well, what you heard him describe there, in his usual plainspoken, American way, was a mechanism, not a policy.”

Added Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway: “The softening is more approach than policy,” adding that on immigration, Trump “wants to find a fair and humane way.”

“He is not talking about a deportation force,” she observed.