Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus previewed the first presidential debate Monday, saying Americans would see a presidential Donald Trump who has the “gravity” to hold the nation’s top office.
Priebus, appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” pointed to the news that approximately 85 percent of Republicans now back Trump as proof the GOP nominee can win over unsure voters Monday night at Hofstra University in New York.
Urging Trump to stay focused as he prepares to take on Hillary Clinton in person during the three debates, Priebus said the GOP nominee can surpass Clinton if he removes the “measure of risk” for undecided voters.
“I also think just personally that the gravity of the presidency has sort of come upon Donald Trump, too, over the last month and a half, and just what it’s all about,” Priebus said. “I just think that he’s really taken it in stride, and I think once the electorate continues to see that person that we know, I think it’s going to break free. And it’s like a flowing river. The river wants to go with the change, but with change is a measure of risk, and that is the debate. And that’s what Donald Trump is trying to take away, is the measure of risk.”
The RNC chairman pointed to the GOP nominee’s surging poll numbers as evidence the election is on the cusp of swinging in Trump’s favor.
“Yeah, [the election is] all tied up, but it’s also an electorate that wants to break free,” Priebus said. “It’s like an electorate that’s caged up, and it’s important that Donald Trump continue on the path that he’s on, which is a very measured, it’s a very disciplined — a very presidential Donald Trump. And that’s really where he’s at.”
Priebus also lauded Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his decision on Friday to stand with Trump and endorse his former rival’s bid for the presidency. Cruz, who delivered a decidedly noncommittal speech at the Republican National Convention in July that urged people to vote their “conscience,” finally came around last week.
“And look, I think it’s important that Ted Cruz came on board last week. I think it’s important for the others that signed the agreement that they would support the nominee that they would get on board,” Priebus said, pointing at former rivals Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.