The billionaire front-runner’s campaign has invited members of the Republican National Committee to a Florida meeting on Thursday night.
Even as Donald Trump rails against the “rigged” presidential nominating process, his team is playing nice with the party officials who make up the core of that system.
On Tuesday, Team Trump invited 168 members of the Republican National Committee to come to a campaign presentation Thursday night. The reception appeared on an official RNC schedule that went out to members Tuesday night.
The reception will take place in Hollywood, Florida, during the RNC’s spring meeting, which runs Wednesday through Friday. It’s the GOP leaders’ last meeting before the national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July.
Some of the presidential candidate’s chief strategists, including Paul Manafort, will be on hand to mingle with the party leaders at the Thursday night reception and to share a formal presentation spelling out Trump’s path to victory.
Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump after he exited the presidential race in early March, will also be in the room to help make the case for Trump, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Bloomberg Politics.
Although Trump leads in pledged delegates, anti-Trump activists have been working the state convention system to get themselves named to individual national delegate slots. Some will be bound by their state party’s rules to vote for Trump at first, but the rules allow for them to switch allegiances on later ballots in the event of a contested convention.
It could be a backdoor way for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is in second place in pledged delegates, to beat the front-runner and become the nominee.
Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich are also hosting RNC receptions in Florida on Wednesday.
“The system is rigged,” Trump said on the campaign trail in Syracuse on Saturday, ahead of the New York primary. “They’ve got to do something about it. The Republican National Committee better get going because I’ll tell you what, you’re going to have a rough time at that convention in July.”
That has been a theme of Trump’s campaign speeches in recent days. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has responded that the rules for the nomination process have been known for more than a year, and it’s up to candidates to understand them.
Behind the scenes, Trump aides have been working to build ties with the leaders who make up the GOP establishment.