Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s new campaign chief, met with leading RNC members on Thursday night to reassure them that the world will soon see a new ‘evolved’ presidential candidate.
The New York Times reported that Manafort addressed some 100 committee members in Hollywood, Fla and assured them that the campaign persona on display over the past several months effectively amounted to an act.
“That’s what’s important for you to understand: That he gets it, and that the part he’s been playing is evolving,” Manafort said, the Times reports. “The negatives are going to come down, the image is going to change, but Clinton is still going to be crooked Hillary.”
“You’ll start to see more depth to the person, the real person,” Manafort added.
The NY Times said it received a tape of the speech by someone attending the meeting.
Trump’s aggressive style has worked well for the campaign tapping into the anti establish anger pervading the country but with a contested convention looming, Trump was getting worried by the possibility of being dumped by the RNC. So on the Friday before Easter while sitting in his Mar-a-Lago Oceanside resort in Palm Beach, Florida he called his longtime political adviser, Roger Stone. The conversation, according to USNews, went like this:
“Can they really f— me on this convention?” Trump asked, somewhat incredulously. “If I have the most votes, can they really take this away from me?”
Stone told him indeed they could, and likely would, if he was short of the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid going to a second presidential nominating ballot in Cleveland. Trump heard Stone out, and then requested the name of someone who could help him catch up on the inside game he was rapidly losing to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: the tedious, onerous hunt for loyal delegates, state by state, district by district.
Stone recommended Trump contact Paul Manafort, a man the real estate mogul first met nearly 28 years ago, ironically at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans. That year, Manafort was the deputy convention manager for Vice President George H.W. Bush.
Now with Paul Manafort installed, the campaign is changing and a new Donald Trump is on the cards.
“He recognizes that things aren’t static. That what is right to start the campaign isn’t necessarily the way you finish the campaign,” Manafort told CNN Thursday night after he met with RNC officials here.
“There’s no reason to have a detente, I mean there’s not a fight,” he said.
“I mean the Trump campaign and the RNC are working together on a bunch of different things … but the focus has been on getting the nomination,” he said. “Now that we’re approaching the nomination, the focus is on blending the party and the campaign so that we can run as a united team and that’s what we started to do here this weekend.”
Watch CBS report on Trump reshaping his image:
“I mean we had a very good meeting,” Manafort told CNN. “I think people were hungry to find out with the campaign’s intentions were what Donald Trump’s intentions were. We answered all the questions. I think they left there, they have a better understanding of the integration of the campaign with the party as we move towards the general election.”
Responding to that meeting, Trump’s main rival Ted Cruz, spoke on the Mark Levin Show and said that Trump is trying to snow over Republican voters.
“Donald is a New York liberal who is pretending to be a conservative to try to fool Republican primary voters,” he said.
“He’s telling us he’s lying to us,” Cruz added. “What his campaign manager says — you look at what his campaign manager is telling us: this is just an act, this is just a show, building a wall… when he talks about anything, it’s all an act and a show.”
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