Paul Manafort (Credit: NBC News)

New campaign adviser won't deny Trump is considering bribing GOP delegates to fight Cruz's "Gestapo tactics"

"There's the law, and there's ethics, and then there's getting votes," Paul Manafort told Chuck Todd


Scott Eric Kaufman
April 11, 2016 3:53PM (UTC)

One day after the Trump campaign's disastrous mishandling of delegates in the Colorado GOP primary, longtime Republican operative Paul Manafort -- who recently had his role in Trump's campaign expanded -- explained that Texas Senator Ted Cruz is using "Gestapo tactics, scorched-earth tactics," but refused to deny that the Trump campaign would resort ethically dubious tactics of their own to fight them.

Manafort was replying to host Chuck Todd, who ran a video of Manafort's ally and former business partner Roger Stone talking about the possibility of sharing the hotel room numbers of delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland who refuse to vote for Trump. Threats of those sorts are "Ted Cruz's style," he said, noting that "you go to these county conventions and you see the Gestapo tactics, the scored-earth tactics."

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Todd replied that "Gestapo" is "a strong word," but Manafort insisted it was appropriate because "the reality is, [the Cruz campaign] is not playing by the rules."

Todd asked if that meant that Trump's surrogates would no longer to be required to "play by the rules" either, and offer delegates weekends at Trump resorts or golf clubs, or pay for a delegate's trip to and stay at the convention. Manafort refused to answer the question, noting only that "there's the law, and then there's ethics, and then there's getting votes. I'm not going to get into what tactics are used."

As for why his role was elevated so late in the campaign season, Manafort said "Trump was doing very well on a model that made sense, but now, as the campaign has gotten to the end stages, a more traditional campaign has to take place. Trump recognized that and is now reaching out not just with me, but with others as well that you'll start to see come in."

Watch the entire interview below via NBC News.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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