Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus defended the GOP’s nominee ahead of the party convention in Cleveland, arguing that “if the public sees the Donald Trump that I’ve gotten to know in private, he will not be stopped.”
Priebus also praised Trump’s vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, calling him a “perfect pick.”
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“An experienced governor, leadership in the House, all of the things that I know Donald Trump wanted to check, he did it,” Priebus said about Pence on Meet the Press in Cleveland. “I know leadership in the House and the Senate, very happy with the Pence pick.”
Priebus defended the convention’s unconventional lineup and lack of attendance by major party figures – like members of the Bush family – by noting that Former Pres. George W. Bush also did not attend the 2008 national convention in St. Paul, Minn. Republicans who are still part of the so-called “Never Trump” movement, he said, are living in a “fantasy land.”
“This silliness with ‘Never Trump,’ I mean, who’s your nominee, guys? Who’s your VP?” he said.
Priebus also fended off a major criticism of Trump – that he lacks appeal with racial minorities. “I think he’s come around a lot since a few months ago,” Priebus said. “I know where his heart’s at, I can tell you.”
In the interview with Chuck Todd, Priebus responded to questions about whether the party has evolved since the so-called 2013 “autopsy report,” which sought to redefine the party platform after Republicans failed to win the White House for two consecutive terms.
“The principles of the party are the same,” Priebus said, noting the party’s stances against same-sex marriage and abortion.
Notably, he said the party isn’t explicitly against single-parent families: “The best scenario for kids is a loving mom and dad. However, it doesn't mean at all that single parents, that same-sex parents, that any parent in America can't love a child and can't raise a child and that child can't be successful and loved. He also clarified that there will be no wording in the platform advocating for what is known as "conversion therapy." Those who practice so-called "conversion therapy" claim to be able to help people change their sexual orientation or gender identity.