'Focus Your Message:' Current, Former Arizona Governors To Donald Trump Ahead Of RNC

By Phil Latzman
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, July 18, 2016 - 10:43am
Updated: Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:31pm
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(Photo courtesy of RNC Twitter)
The 2016 Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland from July 18-21.

As Republicans gather in Cleveland, three Arizona governors say they know what it will take for Donald Trump to unite the party behind him: focus.

Trump's campaign to date has been largely defined by his off-script comments. Current Gov. Doug Ducey, plus predecessors Jan Brewer and Fife Symington, aren't sure those headline-grabbing pronouncements are necessarily a bad thing, but in separate interviews with Capitol Media Services, they said that uniting the party — and building a team and political support to win in November — will require a consistent message.

Symington said Trump has a chance at the convention to make that case that he's a serious, thoughtful candidate, despite the occasional off-hand comments. "I would have three or four key things that are very important to the hearts and minds of Republicans of all persuasions and just try to lay it out,'' he said.

Symington said that means Trump acknowledging that there are those who many not like certain aspects of his personality or the way he says things. But then, he said, Trump needs to say, "You have to move beyond that and look at the substantive policy differences ... and what a vote for me would mean and what a vote for Hillary would mean.''

Gov. Ducey had a more specific suggestion. "I do think you would unify a lot of people if you pointed out Washington, D.C., doesn't work,'' said Ducey. "It tries to do too many things, most of them poorly.''

He said that's a message that would resonate with many voters. And the bonus, Ducey said, would be to allow Trump to contrast himself with Hillary Clinton.

"She will be the queen of a bigger and larger government,'' Ducey said. "And if Donald Trump said, 'I'm going to downsize Washington, and I'm going to allow the citizens at home to be larger and make more of their own decisions,' I think that would be a winning theme.''

Brewer, meanwhile, said, "It's all about policy. And that's about the economy, taxes, jobs, security and the vets. And law enforcement.''

The bottom line, Brewer said, is Trump "needs to really focus on the policy and let people know that he is a leader, he can be trusted, that he will surround himself with good people and that he is a good listener.''

But Brewer said Trump also has some work to do on social issues. "He needs to shore up his commitment to pro life,'' she said.

In 1999, Trump pronounced himself to be a supporter of abortion rights. He has since argued that he has "evolved'' on the issue and now has reversed stance. But he also has said this year he supports the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, a position inconsistent with the party platform.

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