Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” the campaign chair for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Paul Manafort said former 2012 GOP presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney was a “coward” for attacking Trump and the other Republican who ran for president because he chose to not run.
Partial transcript as follows:
STEPHANOPOULOS: House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this week. Let’s get a response now from Donald Trump’s campaign chair, Paul Manafort.
Mr. Manafort, thank you for joining us.
You just saw Paul Ryan right there, the House speaker, he believes – and I know he’s been speaking with Mr. Trump — that he believes we’re going to see a different Donald Trump out on the
trail. Is he right?
PAUL MANAFORT, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIR: Listen, all parts of the campaign that are now being are coming together. You’re going to see Donald Trump making more speeches that are set speeches, which you haven’t seen in the past for the most part. You’re going to see more interaction in different environments other than rallies. But you’re also going to see the rallies. The rallies — Donald Trump gets energy from, and frankly gives energy back. And so the campaign will be a traditional campaign in that respect. But untraditional in the way we in which we approach focusing on the differences between us and Hillary Clinton.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about on the policy? Because he seemed to also indicate that Donald Trump is going to be coming his way. He said specifically when we talked during part of that interview that he believes that Donald Trump is listening to him on the issue of entitlements.
MANAFORT: I was interested listening to him. There’s a lot of agreement between the two parties on the principles of the Ryan agenda and the reason that Donald Trump is running for president. The difference, though — and it’s an important difference — is Donald Trump is running against the system that he thinks is rigged, that he thinks hasn’t worked, that he thinks has hurt the people of the United States. And he thinks Washington doesn’t get it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Paul Ryan right at the top of that system in congress.
MANAFORT: He is. And he started talking about policies that will change things. But that’s where there’s some bit of a personality rub. I mean, Trump is willing to not accept the status quo in Washington. He’s saying we have to change the status quo in Washington So, you’ve got that component. And then you’ve got some policy differences as well. But at the day both Paul Ryan and Donald Trump believe that the system has to change. They see Hillary Clinton as an extension of that system. They see her as a third term for Obama. they see in a year of change, she’s the establishment candidate. And that’s what you’re going to see the campaign focusing on.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The man who is not coming on board, Mitt Romney, the last nominee
of the Republican Party, having that conference in Utah over the weekend says his heart is breaking
watching Donald Trump lead the GOP.You had Meg Whitman at the same conference comparing Donald Trump to Mussolini and Hitler.
MANAFORT: Well, I think they’re sitting in their cocoon, you know, away from the reality of the world. I mean, Donald Trump is none of those things. And this is sore losers. You know, Romney wanted to run, chose not to. He’s now attacking this past weekend all the other Republican who ran for president as well saying they should have done a better job. Well, if he feels that way he should have run. He was a coward.
MANAFORT: He didn’t want to get into the race. He had an opportunity to get in the race and chose not to and now he’s criticizing all those who Trump beat for not running a good campaign and he’s criticizing Trump who got over 3.5 million votes more than Romney got in the primaries this year. And actually one of the underreported facts is when you look at what Trump is getting today in the Hispanic community, in the black community, in the independent community, he’s equaling or doing better than Romney did at the end of the campaign. So Romney is not one to criticize and Donald Trump, who has tapped into an angst in America, he’s got a campaign strategy and is running a campaign that —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Also creating a lot of angst in the Republican Party, especially with those comments about Judge Curiel. You’ve got Hugh Hewitt and others talking about finding ways to stop Donald Trump at the convention. Are you confident you can shut that down?
MANAFORT: There are very few people talking about that, the malcontents who have not been happy that Donald Trump beat all of them. The delegates to the convention who we’re dealing with on a regular basis are looking forward for an exciting time. There aren’t going to be any serious issues in Cleveland. People are banding together. What’s getting all the attention are five or six people. Then there’s the broad base of the Republican Party that has united behind Donald Trump, is working with us, helping us build out our campaign. And the integration, we have, for example, with the RNC, is almost seamless. I mean, it’s coming together very nicely, which is one of the underreported — another underreported fact. Always the pundits and the media have been trying to say Donald Trump can’t achieve certain goals. He couldn’t get — top 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, it was going to be a second ballot. Now they’re saying he doesn’t have a campaign structure. That’s just not true.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN