A longtime Bush family operative and current RNC national committeeman from Massachusetts is calling on Republicans to rally behind supporters of Donald Trump and nominate the New York City real estate mogul as the GOP candidate for president.
“To be honest, I started with my friend Jeb Bush, who I grew up with,” Ron Kaufman said on my syndicated radio show. “That didn’t work.”
Kaufman goes back to 1980 with the Bushes, when George H.W. Bush was running for president in New Hampshire against Ronald Reagan. Kaufman worked on that campaign along with then-state Rep. Andy Card of Massachusetts, who became his brother-in-law. Card was transportation secretary under Bush 41 and Bush 43’s first White House chief of staff, informing the president of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. Kaufman served as a White House political director under Bush 41.
Last night Kaufman said the enormous surge in Republican voters this primary season shows that Trump has struck a nerve in American politics in a way that more traditional candidates have not.
“Donald Trump is going to end up with more votes than any person who ever ran for president in a contested race, probably,” said Kaufman.
Kaufman’s comments came after Trump swept to victory in Massachusetts’ nine Congressional district caucuses on Saturday, grabbing 23 of the 27 slots with record turnouts. In March, Trump won 49 percent of the GOP primary vote in the Bay State.
Kaufman described the Trump routs in the Massachusetts caucuses last weekend as “stunning.”
Kaufman in effect broke with another of his old allies, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who earlier this year repeatedly urged GOP voters to reject Trump.
“You can’t kick all those great tens of millions of voters to the side,” Kaufman said. “If we’re going to win in November we’re going to need every one of them to show up and vote.”
Earlier this year, Kaufman was featured on the HBO series, “Circus,” in which veteran political operatives discussed the state of the presidential race. Last night, while saying that if he had better understood the premise of “Circus,” he would never have been involved in it, Kaufman did point out that, “I was actually the one guy on the Donald Trump side, if you will.”
During one taping, as the other participants sneered at Trump, Kaufman defended the New Yorker, at least more than anyone else on the panel.
“Trump is doing well for one reason,” Kaufman said on HBO. “He understands the climate and the culture of America today better than anybody.”
Last night he elaborated on his earlier HBO comments.
“Clearly, Mr. Trump understands what people are thinking out there in America better than anybody else,” he said. “That’s why he will be the nominee in my opinion and I believe he’ll be the president.”
Kaufman predicted a unified Republican party will coalesce behind Trump after the convention in Cleveland this July, spurred on the specter of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
“Once we get through the convention process, I think you’ll see that the state parties, the presidential campaign, the RNC, all work together to make sure that it’s Donald Trump picking the next two or three Supreme Court Justices and not Hillary Clinton.”