Manafort Tells RNC Trump Has a Different Private Persona

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 3:52 AM

"When he'south sitting in a room, he'south talking business, he'south talking politics in a private room, it'south a different persona," top Trump aide Paul Manafort said during the meeting, a recording of which was obtained by NBC News.

Manafort Tells RNC Trump Has a Different Private Persona

Donald Trump has a different persona in private than he does in public and he'll shift his personality to appeal to women, minorities and other voters in a common election, his top aide told a meeting of the Republican National Committee on Thursday.

"When he'south sitting in a room, he'south talking business, he'south talking politics in a private room, it'south a different persona," top Trump aide Paul Manafort said during the meeting, a recording of which was obtained by NBC News. "When he'south out on the stage, when he'south talking about the kinds of things he'south talking about on the stump, he'south projecting an image that'south for that purpose."

Manafort'south comments arrive as Trump is trying to construct a more professional campaign that can lock up the 1.237 delegates needed to win a majority at the Cleveland convention. But they're potentially problematic for a candidate who'south built a brand centered on telling it love it's and accusing typical politicians of misleading voters.

In the meeting, Manafort cast Trump as playing a portion aimed at winning over his core supporters.

"He [Trump] gets it," Manafort said, and "the portion that he'south been playing is evolving into the portion that presently you've been expecting, but he wasn't prepared for because he'd to first feed the first phase."

Manafort insisted that Trump'south deep unpopularity nationwide, fueled by months of unapologetic bluster on the campaign trail, would be easily remedied when the candidate shifts gears. In contrast, Hillary Clinton'south negatives are character driven and baked-in, Manafort argued.

"The negatives will arrive down, the image is going to change, but Clinton is still going to be 'Bent Hillary,' and that'south what you're going to be seeing a lot more of."

He also reassured RNC members that Trump will lift money for the party -- something he'south so distant avoided doing, Manafort said, because it'd breach a campaign promise not to get donations.

"He'south actually living his word, and that'south what the base that we're attracting to the Trump campaign is looking for. They're looking for honesty, and they're looking for consistency, and they're looking for someone who does precisely what they say," Manafort said.

Manafort did convince the RNC that Trump has told him and another top aide, Rick Wiley, that the billionaire will spend what it takes to lock up the nomination before Cleveland.

"He'south told Rick and I that he'south willing to spend what'south required to finish this out. That'south a large statement from him," Manafort said. "It allows us to keep a map together so that we can create sure that we finish this thing early sufficient so that you can perceive comfortable that he'south going to be the nominee."

The meeting represented the Trump campaign'south first pitch to the full RNC membership, who were gathered in Hollywood, Fla. for the party'south Spring Meeting. Sen. Ted Cruz and OH Gov. John Kasich both made personal pitches to the one hundred sixty-eight party leaders in attendance, while Trump sent Manafort, Political Director Rick Wiley and Ben Carson, a former opponent who'south presently one of his more prominent surrogates, on his behalf.

And it came as relations between Trump and the party leadership stay strained, as the candidate has railed against the GOP brass in recent weeks for a nominating process he'south decried as "rigged" and "corrupt."

But as he moves closer to the nomination, the candidate has made some efforts to mend fences with GOP leaders and prove he can be a viable common election candidate, bringing on a team of seasoned new advisers and promising to moderate his tone and message on the trail.

Trump'south aides aides have pledged voters will look a more presidential Trump on the campaign trace going forward, and the idea of "two Trumps" isn't new — Carson said he'd seen two different Trumps when he announced his endorsement of the candidate. Manafort made the case that Trump has keep on his past "persona" to prove he could win elections and gain credibility with the party.

"The campaign model he keep together, and the reason he hasn't been with you all yet, is a model of going out to the voters, and speaking to voters, and looking at winning states, looking to construct his credibility, and so he'd to prove that he could win elections," he said.

NBC News' Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner contributed to this report.

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