A senior adviser to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump assured supportive Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday that the New York billionaire will secure the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination before the party’s convention in July.
Ed Brookover met with about a half dozen Republicans from the House of Representatives in a private meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, the first of what Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., said will be weekly sessions with the Trump team in Washington.
Brookover "talked about their path to 1,237 – he’s (Trump) the only one with the path to that number – and how important the upcoming primaries will be, mainly New York and Pennsylvania," said Barletta, one of a half-dozen House Republicans who attended the meeting.
The Trump campaign is now transitioning into the next phase and bringing the congressional members who have endorsed Trump into the fold
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa. on meeting with Trump adviser Ed Brookover
Trump is expected to win Tuesday’s New York Republican primary. In Pennsylvania, a new Monmouth University poll Thursday showed him leading statewide at 44 percent among likely Republican voters compared to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at 28 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 23 percent.
The top vote-getter in Pennsylvania wins 17 statewide delegates. The Keystone State’s 54 district level delegates are elected directly without being officially bound to any delegate.
"It looks like Trump should be able to bank the 17 statewide delegates in Pennsylvania," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "The real question is how the directly elected districts will vote at the convention in July."
Brookover told participants in the meeting that Trump was on a "glide path" to nomination and will have enough delegates to avoid a contested convention when the Republicans meet in Cleveland July 18-21.
"The hard number is 1,237, and we think we’re going to blow way past that," Brookover told CNN.
After the meeting, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., a Trump supporter, said “I’m more confident now than I have ever been that 1,237 looks possible, particularly because of the numbers in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Of course, California is going to play a role in this.”
“It looks promising, it’s an uphill battle, there’s no question, it’s not a slam-dunk,” Marino added. “ We cannot take anything or anyone for granted and we have to keep this full court press on until this is wrapped up.”
Trump has been complaining lately that the Republican National Committee is rigging the process to prevent him of reaching the number of delegates needed to capture the nomination.
"I could win Pennsylvania be a landslide, get 17 delegates, and somebody else could get, like, 30 or 40, and they don’t even win," he said Wednesday on Fox’s "Hannity." "But they have connections into the machine. It’s not right. It’s not right."
Echoing Trump, Barletta said Thursday that he’s "disturbed by "the Washington establishment interfering with the process."
"It’s obvious the American people are speaking at the polls and Donald Trump is by far the front-runner, who we should be embracing and getting behind rather than doing everything that they’re doing to try to stop him," he said. "I think this sends a bad message to the people who have gone to the polls and voted and I believe it will tear our party apart."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had the wrong day for the New York primary. It’s Tuesday.