Donald Trump adviser Paul Manafort is going on the defensive against accusations that the campaign has acknowledged that Trump and his often outsized campaign is really an act that will soon end, saying Sunday that “we’re changing the setting, not the candidate.”
Manafort, the newly-hired Trump convention manager, has been defending comments he made last week to Republican National Committee officials in which he, in part, said, Trump was “projecting an image.”
(A secretly recorded tape of the comments was obtained by the Associated Press.)
Manafort told “Fox News Sunday” that the comments were taken out of context and that what he was saying was Trump will be making serious policy speeches, in addition to continuing to hold his large, raucous campaign rallies.
“We’re changing the settings, not the candidate,” Manafort said.
Trump’s closest primary rival, Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, has seized on Manafort’s closed-door remarks at the RNC’s spring meeting in Florida.
Cruz said Trump is “just trying to fool gullible voters” with promises like building a wall between the United States and Mexico and that Trump is “lying to us.”
Manafort said Sunday: “There’s the liar. … Cruz is trying to confuse the facts. He’s going to be mathematically eliminated this week.”
Since Manafort’s comments in Florida, Trump has appeared as rancorous as ever, attacking the GOP establishment and calling Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” despite pleas from his family and team to be more “presidential.”
“I’m not toning it down,” Trump said at rallies Saturday in Connecticut. “Being presidential is easy,” but boring.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, on “Fox News Sunday” compared Manafort’s RNC comments to the “Wizard of Oz,” saying, “Toto pulled back the curtain on the wizard.”