Posted by Curt on 18 July, 2016 at 11:55 am. 8 comments already!



The key bit comes at 2:20 of the clip. Note the unhappy murmuring from the hometown crowd when he claims Kasich is “embarrassing his state” by skipping the convention. You could understand this sort of dumb bravado coming from Trump, who sees every snub that goes unpunished as proof of weakness, but Manafort’s supposed to be the cool-headed strategist with his eye on the big picture. He’s the guy who wanted Pence as VP because Pence would make it easier for the party to unify. If ever there was a moment to take the high road and offer some strategic lip service this was it. “Listen,” he could have said, “I admire John Kasich. He ran a good campaign and he’s an important voice in the party. If he’s willing to speak this week, we’d make it a priority to clear time for him.” Best-case scenario: Kasich hears that and decides to suck it up and attend. Worst-case scenario: Kasich continues to boycott but ends up looking small and petty by doing so.

Making this even odder, Manafort needs the Ohio GOP’s help in building a ground game in their must-win state. Trump barely has a functioning campaign right now. Ohio Republicans can fill the void. So naturally the smart thing to do is gratuitously annoy them.

“All along, we’ve been looking for a more unifying message coming from the Trump campaign,” [Ohio GOP Chairman Matt] Borges added. “And then [Manafort] came to Cleveland this morning as we’re lifting the curtain on one of the crown jewels of the Republican Party and the effort we had in Ohio to bring this convention here, he decided to go in a direction that was obviously calculated — he did it on all the shows — and he’s factually incorrect.”

The remarks from Borges, a top Kasich ally, are significant: Trump is relying heavily on the Ohio GOP’s infrastructure for ground game support, and now tensions are boiling over into the open.

Former Kasich strategist John Weaver took off the gloves on Twitter:

That’s a reference to Manafort’s lucrative pre-Trump career as an advocate in Washington forsome of the sleaziest tyrants on the planet. Given the new GOP position on Ukraine, he may still be an advocate for them behind the scenes.

His jab at Kasich for “embarrassing” Ohio isn’t his only snub of the convention’s home state this week either. For reasons known only to the Trump brain trust, they decided to move the Ohio delegation on the floor to the side of the stage behind Pennsylvania even though traditionally the home state sits up front:

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