CLEVELAND, Ohio — Before he stepped on the Republican National Convention stage and vouched for his father Tuesday in primetime, Donald Trump Jr. spoke to “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell in a wide-ranging interview.
His brother, Eric, will speak Wednesday night, and their sister, Ivanka, will introduce the Republican presidential nominee at Thursday night’s acceptance speech, showing the family’s prominent role in the campaign.
“I think the voters of this country have said, ‘Hey, maybe we want to get away from the establishment a little bit. Maybe we want to get away from some of that,” Trump Jr. said. “Maybe we’ll bring some new thought to these ideas.’ … So I think infusing some characters that aren’t the same old people that often times got us in these positions, I think that’s going to be something different and new. And I think that’s important, I think that’s what voters have wanted.”
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The family was also very involved in helping select Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, which Trump Jr. described as a “tough decision.”
“When we met with him and my siblings met with him, and just right way, you saw this is the guy that’s for my father,” Trump Jr. said. “They’re very different personality-wise and I think you need that balance. You know, you have my father already being that guy. You don’t need two of those guys. … I also loved the fact that, you know, he told me one of the reasons he got into politics was seeing the disasters and the scandals of the Clinton administration in the ’90s. You know, and that was why he wanted to come in and just do the right thing and be the right kind of politician that we just don’t have enough of in this country.”
Trump Jr. also addressed accusations that Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech at the GOP convention Monday.
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“[The speechwriters] shouldn’t have done that or should’ve cleaned it up better. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about again,” Trump Jr. said. “I’m proud of the way she did. I thought she did excellent.”
While former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said on CNN Tuesday that current campaign chief Paul Manafort should resign if he had approved the speech script, Trump Jr. defended Manafort.
“There’s a reason [Manafort’s] in the position he’s in today and Corey’s not. And it’s not because Paul’s amateur hour,” Trump Jr. said.
In fact, Trump Jr. said he wished they “had him on earlier” with the campaign.
“I’ve heard that other people asked, ‘Oh, is the family on the outs with Paul?’ Total nonsense. You know, we couldn’t be more happy with the work that he is doing. The way he’s tackling these things, the way he’s handling the organization of everything going forward — he’s done a phenomenal job,” he said.
Trump Jr. added that Ohio is an “incredibly important state” for his father’s campaign.
“One of the first jobs he ever owned and worked on was in Ohio in Cincinnati. So there’s something near and dear to his heart here. But he speaks to these people, the hardworking blue collar Americans that built this country that made this country what it is,” Trump Jr. said. “They’re the only people that don’t have a voice anymore.”