Paul Manafort, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, pushed back Sunday on the notion that the Republican's invective-filled campaign has been an act, to be replaced by a more dignified and traditional image.
"We're changing the settings, not the candidate," Manafort, Trump's newly hired convention manager," said on Fox News Sunday.
The Associated Press last week quoted Manafort telling the Republican National Committee in a closed-door meeting that Trump was "projecting an image" in his raucous rallies and would be a different, more presidential person in private settings. Message: he will work with you. (The report was based on a secret recording of Manafort's remarks.)
Manafort told Fox that his remarks had been taken out of context. What he meant, he said, was that Trump would begin making serious policy speeches – such as one later this week on foreign policy in Washington – not that he would stop doing his signature rallies. They mix stream-of-consciousness riffs on "winning" and the perfidy of the nation's leaders with the rapturous chants of thousands of fans.
Trump is not backing down on his controversial policy proposals, such as a massive wall along the entire border with Mexico, Manafort said. While his nominal role is to manage the convention process for Trump, Manafort, a veteran Republican insider, effectively has taken over the campaign operation from manager Corey Lewandowski.