~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Donald Trump Reaches Out, Quietly, to Republican Establishment
The New York Times, le 5 Mai 2016
Titre et inter-titres E Gaillot pour €calypse News, le 5 Mai 2016
Donald J. Trump, turning his attention to the general election, has begun quietly reaching out to key elements of the Republican establishment as he seeks to unite the party behind his candidacy before his anticipated battle against Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump, who is expected to run on a nonideological platform of his own design, is trying to reassure party officials that he understands there are certain norms even he needs to follow as the Republican nominee, and that he is capable of producing an organization and infrastructure that can sustain a costly general election campaign.
His team, already working to transform a lean operation into a national presidential campaign apparatus, has been reaching out to members of Congress and Washington think tanks; strategizing on how best to take on Mrs. Clinton and woo supporters of her primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; and planning to head to Cleveland next week to help direct the party’s July convention, according to aides.
The campaign has also begun thinking about what a convention with Mr. Trump, a circus master and media savant, as the prime-time act will look like.
“The site has been chosen and the arena is fine, but I’d want to have — you know, the last Republican convention was extraordinarily boring,” Mr. Trump said in one of two phone interviews Wednesday. “And we’re going to come up with some things that will make it interesting and informative, but also smart and different.”
Mr. Trump, a former reality television host, added that he would look to organizations like IMG, a global talent management company, to help with the production.
The campaign is honing a broad general election theme: a populist pitch of “America first.” And, jumping off the foreign policy speech he delivered last Wednesday in Washington, Mr. Trump is planning three more policy speeches in the coming weeks. They are likely to focus on the economy, veterans and his view of the judiciary; in that address, he plans to release a list of conservative judges who exemplify his view of a strong Supreme Court justice, aides said.
To improve its outreach to the Republican political and policy establishment, the Trump campaign recently opened an office near the nation’s capital, in the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Va. But it is unclear whether the core of the campaign will be based in the Washington area or in New York, where Mr. Trump returns almost every night.
The Trump operation is still struggling with its rapid expansion, with persistent reports of tensions between Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager, and Paul Manafort, the newly installed senior adviser.
Soon, the campaign plans to put a transition team in place to prepare for a Trump administration, and on Thursday announced Steve Mnuchin, head of a private investment firm, as the team’s national finance chairman.
As the presumptive nominee, Mr. Trump will begin raising money for the Republican Party and various congressional committees, his campaign said. He has largely self-funded his campaign so far — a fact he often promotes as evidence that he is not beholden to special interests — but has signaled he will raise money for his general election effort.
He also did not rule out the possibility of accepting public matching funds, saying, “I don’t know enough about it,” but he added that he would receive a briefing on the topic on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Ed Rollins, once Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager, joined Great America PAC, a “super PAC” supporting Mr. Trump, as a co-chairman. On a call with prospective supporters of the group on Wednesday, Mr. Rollins said its goal would not be to spend large amounts on television ads, but instead to try to plug holes for the campaign. “I think what we want to do is really examine what are the pieces that are missing,” he said.
Since last month, Mr. Trump’s congressional team has held meetings on Capitol Hill every Thursday morning when Congress is in session. It said that attendance at the meetings, which often feature a guest speaker from the Trump campaign, had swelled after the recent string of Trump victories, and that it planned to announce more than half a dozen endorsements in the coming weeks.
Mr. Trump’s fund-raising efforts could help court lawmakers.
“Dollars matter a lot in these tough races, so to the extent that Mr. Trump is helping us raise money, money that will help us protect our majority, he’s going to win a lot of friends in Congress,” said Representative Chris Collins of New York, one of Mr. Trump’s congressional co-chairmen. “That’s going to soothe a lot of folks and show he does care about the House maintaining its majority.”
The campaign has begun reaching out to Washington consultants and operatives from rival campaigns, as well as meeting quietly with Republican leaders in swing states where it believes Mr. Trump can win in November.
“I’ve seen it when the campaign comes in and says: ‘This is the way we’re going to run the state, whether you like it or not. We know more about your state than you do,’ ” Mr. Manafort said in an interview. “And that’s not an effective way to do it.”
But recruiting supporters in the Washington establishment has been something of a challenge.
“It’s still very much an insurgency campaign, and there’s still a high degree of reluctance in D.C. to get on board with the campaign, even though a lot of people have made the jump or are softening their positions,” said Joe Kasper, chief of staff to Representative Duncan Hunter of California, a co-chairman of Mr. Trump’s congressional outreach effort.
The campaign is also refining its messaging for the general election, with Mr. Trump preparing lines of attack against Mrs. Clinton — including, possibly, continued assaults on her gender — and discussing how he can woo supporters of Mr. Sanders, who his team hopes will be receptive to his anti-Washington message of economic populism.
In an interview, Mr. Trump suggested that Mrs. Clinton had “bad judgment” and “a lot of baggage” that could harm her. “The emails are bad judgment,” he said. “Benghazi was bad judgment. Libya was bad judgment. Whitewater was bad judgment.”
Repeating an attack he has already waged against Mrs. Clinton, using Mr. Sanders’s words against her, Mr. Trump also said, “Bernie Sanders said she suffers from bad judgment.”
Asked if would make an issue of former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities, which he briefly did after Mrs. Clinton accused him of sexism, Mr. Trump was circumspect. “I would always say things are off limits, but if they make things off limits on limits, that’s O.K. with me,” he said.
The campaign also plans to bring on additional staff to help with press, and it is seeking a point person for surrogates, who would recruit and book Trump supporters to speak on television and hone their talking points.
Ultimately, however, Mr. Trump said he did not plan to make wholesale changes to his approach after his primary victories. “When you win the pennant and you’re in the World Series and you’re three games up, you don’t want to start changing your lineup,” he said.
Mr. Trump said he was likely to select a running mate in early July and would soon announce a vice-presidential selection committee on which Ben Carson, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon who endorsed Mr. Trump after ending his own presidential campaign, would play a central role.