Kaufman says Trump meeting goals, draws Melania-Jackie comparison
By State House News Service | July 22, 2016, 6:54 EDT
CLEVELAND — Calling GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump a “home run” and his wife Melania “an image of Jackie Kennedy,” a friend and top advisor to the last Republican nominee for president said Thursday that any doubts over Trump’s character or lingering worries about his capacity to lead should have been put to rest this week by his family.
Ron Kaufman, a veteran Republican political operative and advisor to Mitt Romney, said he believes the party accomplished its two biggest goals for the Cleveland convention: building a case against Hillary Clinton and making voters more comfortable with the idea of a Trump presidency.
“This election is obviously, in the end, about two things. It’s about risk and change,” said Kaufman, the Republican National Committeeman from Massachusetts. “American voters proved in the primaries, both parties quite frankly, they really truly want to change. To get change, it’s risky and quite frankly we have someone that no one really knows about in Donald Trump. That change is risky.”
He continued, “One of the most important things we wanted to accomplish in these four days is to lower that risk factor for the American people and anybody whose in that hall or watching TV these last three days, three nights, realizes that any man that has those four kids on stage is not a risk to anybody anywhere. And anybody who’d be smart enough, lucky enough to marry that gracious, elegant woman who in my opinion, as a Massachusetts guy, is an image of Jackie Kennedy as far as grace and elegance and decency, is a home run.”
Clinton and Trump were tied in a poll of 500 likely voters in Ohio that was taken while the Republican National Convention was unfolding here. “These largely negative views of the candidates come despite heavy Clinton campaign advertising in Ohio leading up to the Republican Convention and Trump’s efforts to humanize his candidacy with multiple primetime speeches from family members,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, said in a statement. “The Ohio-based Republican convention might have been expected to give Trump a bump among that state’s voters, yet their dislike of both major-party candidates is translating into unease about the upcoming election.”
Trump’s children have played a prominent role at the Republican National Convention. They’ve handled speaking roles that in the past have been held by prominent Republican figures like Romney or former President George W. Bush who might have otherwise been called upon to make the case for the GOP nominee if it was anyone but Trump.
Bush has largely been silent on political since his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, dropped out of the race. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has delivered scathing critiques of Trump during his rise through the Republican presidential voting.
Melania Trump, a Slovenian model and jewelry designer, delivered a well-received speech about her husband on the first night of the convention before her message got lost in accusations of plagiarism that took days for the campaign to address head on.
Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump and Eric Trump have spoken to the delegates and the national television audience, sharing stories about their father getting to know the workers who helped build his empire and the encouraging notes he used to write on Tiffany’s report cards.
Ivanka Trump, perhaps one of her father’s closest advisors and considered one of the campaigns strongest assets, will address the convention on Thursday when she will introduce her father to accept the Republican nomination for president.
“Donald Trump is going to prove just why there’s no risk in making him the next president of the United States,” said Kaufman, an early Bush supporter this cycle who has fallen in line behind his party’s nominee and its goal of defeating Clinton.
Kaufman said the second goal of the convention – “prosecuting the case against Hillary Clinton” – was also handled admirably by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gringich, who both delivered the red meat that gave rise to one of the most popular refrains on the convention floor this week – “Lock her up!”
“We’ve done a great job of both things,” Kaufman said.
Neither Kaufman nor incoming national committeewoman Rep. Keiko Orrall brought up the swirling controversy around Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s snub of Trump by refusing to endorse the nominee during his prime-time speaking slot.
At the Massachusetts delegation breakfast Thursday morning, delegates were still buzzing about Cruz instead of talking about Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s vice presidential acceptance speech.
Some called Cruz “Benedict Arnold,” while others used saltier language in reaction to Cruz telling his home state delegates Thursday morning that he would not be a “servile puppy dog” to Trump after he attacked his wife and father.
“I think Cruz had a fantastic opportunity to advance his standing with the masses of Republicans who rallied around Trump and help to unify the party. Instead he committed an unbelievable act of political suicide with a self-centered, self-promoting oratory,” said Richard Fraiman, an alternate delegate from Lincoln who voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the primary, but now supports Trump.
Of the Cruz snub, Fraiman said, “I think it helps Trump.”
— Written by Matt Murphy
Copyright State House News Service