Donald Trump is going to tone down the bluster and adopt a new "persona" as he builds a relationship with the GOP political establishment he's bashed throughout his unorthodox campaign, his campaign chief told party leaders.
The GOP presidential front-runner's new campaign chief, Paul Manafort, in an address to about 100 Republican National Committee members at a closed-door meeting in Hollywood, Fla., Thursday, suggested Trump's style amounted to an act, the New York Times reports.
"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 Times said it received a tape of the speech by a person attending the meeting.
"When he's sitting in a room, he's talking business. He's talking politics in a private room. It's a different persona," Manafort said, reported NBC News
, which also cited a tape of Manafort's remarks. "When he's out on the stage, when he's talking about the kinds of things he's talking about on the stump, he's projecting an image that's for that purpose."
Manafort also offered an olive branch to the GOP establishment the real estate billionaire has spent much of his campaign bashing.
"Is Donald Trump running against the Republican National Committee?" Manafort asked, referring specifically to the candidate’s repeated charge of a "rigged" nominating process.
"The answer is he is not."
Instead, Manafort said Trump wants to coordinate his campaign with the "establishment" GOP.
"He gave us the mandate to bring together a team of professionals that could finish the job for him, but could also then begin to link in with the establishment institutions that are part of our party, what you represent, what the state parties represent," Manafort said. "We’ve started all those conversations…. He cares about the united team."
Manafort also said agreed with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who warned this week
that a contested GOP convention in July might leave the party fractured.
"I don’t want a fractured convention, we want this thing to bed early," Manafort said. "We don’t want to be in Cleveland fighting for a nomination that’s already been decided."
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