Donald Trump defends shifting tone: ‘I’ve got to be different’

Posted at 4:04 PM, Apr 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-23 16:05:17-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Donald Trump defended Saturday his method of striking a different tone at rallies than he does behind closed doors with party officials.

“When I’m in a room, talking, you’re one way, when I’m out here talking to you people, I’ve got to be different, alright. I mean I can say basically the same thing,” Trump told the crowd in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Trump senior adviser Paul Manafort told reporters earlier this week that the Republican front-runner was planning to “evolve” as the campaign moves forward closer to the general election.

“So Paul said, ‘No, he’s different when he’s in a room and then he goes out a speaks, it’s different and then if he gives policy that’s different,'” Trump said Saturday. “So, Cruz picks it up, Lyin’ Ted, he goes ‘Donald Trump is kidding everybody. He’s different on the trail. He said, and he said that he’s gonna do things differently and he’s not gonna build the wall,'” Trump said.

“What the hell does this have to do with the wall? Believe me, I’m building the wall,” he added.

At his second rally of the day, Trump also defended to a Bridgeport, Connecticut, crowd his public feuds with party leaders over the rules behind each state’s delegation allocation problem, saying, “You know right now we’re fighting the party because it’s a rigged system.”

Manafort said Saturday that he never said Trump was going to change who he is but that his tactics would shift based on context.

“The Trump campaign, which has been based on Mr. Trump’s communication directly with the American people, was going to be evolving into other forums as well where Mr. Trump was going to be speaking not different messages and not different beliefs, but would would be speaking in a different setting,” he said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

Manafort cited Trump’s planned foreign policy speech next week in Washington as an example of how Trump will alter the tone of his remarks depending on the venue.

Manafort said Trump will continue to promote his plan to end illegal immigration, build a wall along the southern United States border and to end international trade deals.

“Nowhere was I talking about there being a different Donald Trump. What I was talking about was there being a different environment where different parts of the message would be presented in a way that was different from a campaign rally,” Manafort said. “There would be no reason to change the man who has probably been the most effective communicator in politics certainly since Ronald Reagan.”

At Trump’s second really, he criticized those who recorded Manafort when he spoke to RNC officials, suggesting he might take legal action.

“So to show you how honorable the people in the room were, they taped these conversations, they didn’t tell anybody, probably illegal, I wonder if it’s illegal, maybe they have to go to jail, but they taped it, which is fine because what he said is perfect. What he said, is Mr. Trump can be this way, that way, he can be whatever way he wants,” Trump said.