“We’ve sought out a range of people who bring different experiences to the process,” Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said in an interview.
But Manafort insisted that Trump alone is writing his acceptance speech, with some help from Stephen Miller, the candidate’s main speechwriter. He described the campaign’s conversations with the seasoned former Reagan aides as “part of a series of discussions” meant to provide Trump with thematic suggestions.
“Donald Trump has looked at a variety of things from past speeches by nominees to presidential speeches. He talks to people. He's taking all of that in and he’s writing it himself,” Manafort said.
Still, the involvement of the two longtime Reagan insiders is the latest sign that in spite of his flair for extemporaneous speaking, Trump advisers are looking to seasoned GOP hands as Trump readies for the most consequential speech of his campaign.
It also signals that Trump is possibly looking beyond Miller, a young and populist Republican, as he sketches out his draft. Unlike Miller, a former aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Robinson and Elliott are regarded as ideological writers and closer to the establishment wing of the conservative movement.
Robinson and Elliott were not available for comment.
The Washington Post had been told earlier Monday by two Republicans, both requesting anonymity to discuss private conversations, that Elliott and Robinson had participated in at least one conference call and several email exchanges with Trump campaign officials in recent weeks.
The Republicans said that Elliott and Robinson were not formally working for the Trump campaign but offering their thoughts to Manafort and his team about potential lines and speech structures.
Trump is scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.