Today on TV, Donald Trump’s convention guru, Paul Manafort, slammed Sen. Ted Cruz’s methods for getting delegate support at Republican presidential contests across the country. Manafort is accusing Cruz and his team of “gestapo tactics” and predicting that voters will soon tire of his “scorched-earth policies.”
Trump has a 743-to-545 delegate lead over the Texas senator, with the end to the primary/caucus season fast approaching. The situation has resulted in Cruz going to Colorado and other party conventions across the country to secure delegate support.
“You would be surprised who’s been calling me over the last week and where they’re from,” he said. “Do I know the 25-, 30-year-old delegates? No. Do I know the people who push buttons in a lot of these states? Yes.”
Manafort made clear the Trump campaign won’t use strong-arm tactics. “That’s not my style,” he told NBC. “That’s not Donald Trump’s style. That’s Ted Cruz’s style.”
Manafort said the Trump campaign is filing protests because the Cruz campaign is “not playing by the rules”
“You go to his county conventions and you see the gestapo tactics,” he said.
Manafort also dismissed the notion that the Trump campaign has missed opportunities to get delegates through insider tactics and boasted that Cruz has and will continue to lose that way.
He said the Trump campaign has gotten all of the committee spots in Alabama and that it “wiped [Cruz] out” in a similar effort in Michigan.
“You’re going to see Ted Cruz get skunked in Nevada,” Manafort added.
Still, Manafort made clear the race to get 1,237 delegates will likely extend until early June, which includes California’s GOP primary, with 172 delegates, and the New Jersey primary with 51 at stake.
Manafort insisted being hired by the Trump campaign was not a shakeup, particularly amid Cruz’s come-from-behind win last week in Wisconsin.
He argued the campaign season is entering its end stages and that Trump must move from the free-wheeling, free-media style that made the first-time candidate the GOP presidential front-runner.
“Donald Trump has recognized that,” Manafort said, while arguing Trump still runs the campaign.