Priebus and Manafort say Americans will see a presidential Trump, a corrupt Clinton.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus and Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort made the rounds on several morning talk shows Sunday to lay out the GOP’s core objectives headed into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week — 1) Make Donald Trump presidential and 2) Define Clinton as the embodiment of a corrupt system.
Priebus in particular highlighted the strong position Trump will find himself in post-convention if the party does its job and makes the nominee appear presidential.
“There’s a shift in the mood in this country that’s very anti-Washington … We ended up picking the movement candidate. They didn’t pick the movement candidate.”
“I think Thursday night’s a critical night for him, delivering a great speech, the balloon drop, the people in this country saying, ‘I can see Donald Trump being in the White House. I think he’s presidential,’” Priebus told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “This Week.”
Preibus noted Trump is seen through a somewhat similar lens to Ronald Reagan in the early stages of his 1980 presidential bid. The RNC chairman said many voters were unsure if they could see Reagan in the Oval Office, but Reagan turned that corner, appeared presidential, and routed Democrat Jimmy Carter.
“And it’s the same thing that happened in 1980 when the bottom fell out of Carter, when people said, ‘Ronald Reagan can be president, I can trust him, and I see him in the White House.’”
Priebus hailed Trump’s pre-convention progress in becoming a more disciplined, more presidential candidate. He said the the selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would only deepen the seriousness of the ticket and further unify the GOP.
“And again [Trump] pivots to the general election, picking Mike Pence. I think he’s much more precise in his rhetoric, in his tone, in his attack, I think he’s got a lot of room to grow,” Priebus said on “This Week.” “He knows the pivot is important. He has been better and I think he’s going to be great moving forward.”
Manafort suggested Americans will see a new side of Trump — illustrated by testimony from those who’ve seen him operate in business.
“They’ve seen him on the campaign trail, but they haven’t seen him in the boardrooms,” Manafort said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“It’s going to be a very personal convention,” Manfort continued, “You’re going to see how he’s built his successful empire.”
Priebus said Trump is already miles ahead of Clinton on likability, but the final piece of the puzzle will be the presidential element.
“He’s likeable … he’s interesting to people, he’s intriguing, but they want to see that Donald Trump in the White House,” Priebus told Stephanopoulos. “And he’s getting there and he’s going to pivot there. Mike Pence is a – is a mature pick. I think it’s going to help. And I also think he gets it totally.”
The pair also set the stage for a scathing case to be made against Hillary Clinton in Cleveland — an indictment of the presumptive Democratic nominee as a product of a corrupt Establishment.
Manafort suggested recent supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will be particularly hard hit by the consummate insider narrative and take a fresh look at Trump.
“And we’re confident that the combined Trump/Pence ticket is going to be very appealing to moderates, conservatives and, frankly, liberals who were supporting Bernie Sanders because of his campaign against the rigged system, the rigged Wall Street system, the rigged political system, the rigged trade system,” Manafort said on “Fox New Sunday.” “The messages of change that Trump campaigned on are those messages that were popular to Sanders supporters and we think will be an appeal to us.”
“You know, I think that the reality is, is that there’s a shift in the mood in this country that’s very anti-Washington. The movement on both parties was Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. We ended up picking the movement candidate. They didn’t pick the movement candidate,” Priebus said on “This Week.” “And I just have a feeling like surrounding Hillary Clinton with all of these sort of politicians and political fixtures, I don’t know what that gets her.”
“There’s a real choice here,” the RNC chairman said.