A top aide to Donald Trump said Friday he was confident that the billionaire can win the Republican nomination for the White House outright and avoid a contested convention in July.
“We have a clear path forward. It’s difficult. We have to win. We have to win consistently,” Paul Manafort, a veteran political strategist, told CNN one day after Trump put him in charge of the nomination process.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who crushed Trump in the Wisconsin primary this week and who has galvanized Republican leaders determined to stop Trump at all costs, had “seen his best day,” Manafort said.
By June 7, “it will be apparent” that Trump has the 1,237 Republican delegates needed to win the nomination without having his mantle contested at the party convention in Cleveland, Manafort told CNN.
June 7 marks the last state elections in the White House nomination process with votes in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Democratic party votes in North Dakota and the District of Columbia.
Trump leads the polls in the New York state primary on April 19, when 95 Republican delegates are up for grabs.
Manafort also expects the tycoon to do well in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.
“By the time we get to California the momentum will be very clear. Ted Cruz’s path to victory will be in shambles,” he said.
“I’m inheriting a great situation. I have to steer the ship in a little bit different direction.”
Trump’s brash, insult-heavy campaign has had a polarizing effect on Republicans as well as the nation at large, but Manafort said he believed the party would unite behind Trump.
The party frontrunner announced Thursday that he was putting Manafort in charge of managing the delegate count and the Cleveland Convention.
Last week, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with battery for allegedly roughly grabbing a reporter.
Manafort told CNN that while he would be listening to everyone, “I work directly with the boss.”