CLEVELAND — Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort drew a series of boos from the crowd this morning when he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Ohio Governor John Kasich was “making a big mistake” by not attending the Republican National Convention.
“He is looking at something that is not going to happen. He is hurting his state. He is embarrassing his state, frankly,” Manafort said in Kasich’s state.
Kasich’s chief strategist quickly fired back in a tweet saying “Manafort bringing “professionalism” to Trump, attacking @JohnKasich this morning. Just another pivot after great VP rollout. #ClownShow.”
Despite the bumpy start for the coronation of a candidate who has been historically divisive, Manafort insisted to reporters this morning that the party was unified.
“We think the party is getting unified,” Manafort, in his traditional pinstripe suit, told the press, adding that the selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as vice president would “accelerate” that process.
Yet even as he was portraying a unified front, Manafort couldn’t help but take digs at the Republican party establishment as both President Bushes and the party’s two most recent presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romeny are all sitting out the Republican convention.
“Certainly the Bush family, while we would have liked to have them, they’re part of the past, we’re dealing with the future,” Manafort said of their lack of attendance at the convention.
Manafort also revealed that Trump will be flying to Cleveland on Monday to introduce his wife Melania’s remarks at the convention. The presumptive Republican nominee plans to walk with her and speak briefly before her address, after which they will both fly back to New York City before Trump returns on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of another police shooting in Baton Rouge on Sunday, Manafort defended Trump’s acerbic criticism of the Obama administration (this morning Trump suggested that “there’s something going on” when the president speaks about these shootings).
During a breakfast discussion with reporters this morning, Manafort said that unrest and any potential protests in Cleveland would ultimately benefit Trump.
“Frankly, that impact will probably help the campaign because it’s going to show a lawlessness and lack of respect for political discourse,” Manafort suggested.