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Manafort: ‘We Have Plenty of Time to Put the Party Together’

On this week’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s convention manager Paul Manafort said it will take some time for the Republican Party to unite behind Trump but there was “plenty of time to put the party together.”

Partial transcript as follows:

WALLACE: How seriously does Trump take this split within the party and how far is he willing to go when he meets with Paul Ryan later this week to try to repair the split?

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP STRATEGIST: I think you need to put things into context here. A week ago you had Republican leaders in Washington, so many, saying that there was going to be a contested convention. And last Tuesday night in Indiana, a state Trump was supposed to lose, he had an overwhelming victory and the race ended. It ended much sooner than anybody expected except maybe the people supporting Donald Trump who knew he was on to something.

So, Washington was in a little bit of an uncertain phase and still s but it’s a healing process. It’s a healing process that will happen over time and frankly the media’s expectations that the day after the Indiana primary and everybody got out of the race everything was going to come together in one moment, it was unrealistic.

Trump understands this. What’s important to him is that he unifies the party, that he unifies the voters and then he unifies the Republican Party.

Remember, he ran as an outsider, he ran as somebody who was representing the people’s interests who were frustrated with the gridlock in Washington. He wasn’t a candidate of the leaders. And so, to expect everything to come together the day after the primary process ended, it was a bit unrealistic. But frankly, I’m very pleased to say that it’s happening even faster than we thought.

I mean, many of the candidate who ran against him and there were 16, are now moving behind him, endorsing his candidacy expressing support for it. Party leadership in the Congress as well as members of Congress is coming together. The governors are coming together.

WALLACE: Paul —

MANAFORT: So, I mean, the process is happening faster than we thought.

WALLACE: Paul, does evening that it’s important that the party be unified going forward?

MANAFORT: Well, he thinks it’s important that the country be unified and that his appeal be presented in such a way that his message is clear. But, of course, he is the head of the Republican Party, he wants the party to get behind him and support him.

There has never been a candidate — a nominee for president of the United States who had every Republican supporting him and everybody accepting every single position of a presidential candidate. Ronald Reagan had the same issues when he was trying to put the party together in 1980.

So it’s a process. It will be fine. We’ve got plenty of time now. There will be no contested convention. We have plenty of time to put the party together.

And I think you’re going to see a successful, united party in Cleveland, and they’ll be ready to take on Hillary Clinton.

WALLACE: But, Paul, there are real differences between Trump and Ryan. Ryan is said to be offended by some of the things that your candidate has said about women and Muslims and Hispanics. There are substantive differences on issues like trade and entitlement reform.

How far is Trump willing to go to sign on to the agenda of Paul Ryan?

MANAFORT: Well, let’s make something very clear. Donald Trump just won a Republican primary. He won it overwhelmingly.

The largest turnouts in the history of Republican voters in all of the primaries and he is the historic leader now of getting votes as a Republican nominee. So, it’s his agenda that has just been cemented as what the American people or at least Republicans and independents who voted for him want.

There will be a process. There will be meetings of minds. There’s a lot that unites the leadership in the Congress as well as Donald Trump.

But the important thing to remember is the national titular head of the party is the nominee of the Republican Party. He just won that overwhelmingly, faster than anybody in Washington thought and running as an outsider against Washington.

So, his agenda is the people’s agenda. He made it very clear. His vision was clear. He articulated it very well. There is no doubts to where he stands.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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