On Sunday, Donald Trump’s new political hitman Paul Manafort attempted to reconcile the apparent dichotomy of ‘Primary Trump’ and ‘General Election Trump’ by suggesting that while the campaign itself will “evolve,” the candidate himself will not.
On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace confronted Manafort with an audio clip that seemed to suggest that Trump has been of full of sh*t. “The part [Trump’s] been playing” during the Republican primary season is the “first phase,” Manafort can be heard saying in the clip. The second phase will presumably be different. “You’ll start to see more depth to the person, the real person,” announced Manafort. “You’ll see him in a different way.”
Perhaps it was a poor choice of words, but Manafort’s diction made it seem as though he was talking about reprogramming a Manchurian candidate or the Terminator. Operation Humanize Trump is now underway, apparently. Indeed, it’s quite odd to hear a campaign admit to lying before their man is elected to office.
On Thursday, Manafort made this same argument to the Republican establishment. The only reason we even know about this backdoor deal is because the audio was leaked by the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets. Here’s what Manafort said about Trump at the RNC 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.
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.
He gets it. The part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for because he had to first feed the first phase.
There it is. Finally, we had hard evidence of what many of us suspected all along. The entire campaign was a ruse. It was all an act. “But Manafort making that argument explicit illustrates the lengths Trump is now going to run twin campaigns: a public one aimed at stoking the passions of his base against the Republican Party, and a private one designed to convince that same Republican Party that he’s actually been one of them all along,” writes Slate’s Josh Vorhees.
When Wallace pressed Manafort about this apparent duplicity on Sunday, the political hitman provided an answer that insulted human reason. “We were evolving the campaign, not the candidate, and the settings were going to start changing,” he squawked. Case closed. He wasn’t talking about Trump the candidate, but the ethereal, abstract “campaign.”
Predictably, Wallace smelled the bullsh*t from a mile away. Things got a little testy when the Fox News host called Manafort out for his chicanery. Here’s a partial transcript:
WALLACE: Forgive me, it does seem a little bit like spin because — I mean, the words, the part that he has been playing, “You will start to see more depth of the person, the real person.” You’re not talking about rallies versus some other setting.
MANAFORT: I was talking about rallies versus setting.
WALLACE: That’s not what you said.
Rather than explaining his campaign’s inconsistencies, Manafort opted to attack GOP rival Ted Cruz instead. “There’s the liar, not Trump. I mean, he’s got to change the narrative,” Manafort barked. “He’s losing”
When asked why the Cruz team seems to be far more adept at navigating the political waters and securing unpledged delegates, Manafort essentially threw his own candidate under the bus, fluffing his own ego instead. “Now, most of the conventions that happened yesterday were set in state — stages a month or two ago and before frankly I was involved,” he boasted in a fit of narcissism not seen since the days of Napoleon.
Ultimately, Manafort predicted that there will be no second ballot at a convention, if it goes that far. Trump will win in the first ballot, he declared.
To watch Paul Manafort’s full interview with Chris Wallace, see below: