I fully appreciate that support for Trump has become a cult of personality.

Nothing can sway those who refuse to see that Trump is conning them. He doesn’t respect you. He doesn’t like you. He is manipulating you to get what he wants.

It’s all a show.

And his new convention manager (and de facto campaign manager) Paul Manafort just admitted to the con in a closed door meeting with the RNC. The Associated Press obtained a recording, and reports, Trump team tells GOP he has been ‘projecting an image’ (emphasis added):

Trump’s newly hired senior aide, Paul Manafort, made the case to Republican National Committee members that Trump has two personalities: one in private and one onstage.

When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose,” Manafort said in a private briefing.

“You’ll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You’ll see a real different guy,” he said.

The Associated Press obtained a recording of the closed-door exchange.

“He gets it,” Manafort said of Trump’s need to moderate his personality. “The part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for, because he had first to complete the first phase. The negatives will come down. The image is going to change.”

The message was welcomed by some party officials but criticized by others who suggested it raised doubts about his authenticity.

“He’s trying to moderate. He’s getting better,” said Ben Carson, a Trump ally who was part of the GOP’s front-runner’s RNC outreach team.

While Trump’s top advisers were promising Republican leaders that the GOP front-runner would moderate his message, the candidate was telling voters he wasn’t ready to act presidential.

“I just don’t know if I want to do it yet,” Trump said during a raucous rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Thursday that was frequently interrupted by protesters.

“At some point, I’m going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored,” he said, predicting that the size of his crowds would dwindle if he dialed back his rhetoric.

Trump is playing his core supporters, knows he can’t win a national election with his current message, and is planning to change characters mid-play to soothe the GOP elites he rails against to get you worked up.

This reminds me of how Trump once bragged that when a rally was not going well, he’d start screaming about the wall to get the crowd going:

“You know, if it gets a little boring, if I see people starting to sort of, maybe thinking about leaving, I can sort of tell the audience, I just say, ‘We will build the wall!’ and they go nuts.”

As if sucking up to the GOP elites in private wasn’t enough, he’s loading up on lobbyists and Republican insider operatives to run his campaign, including Manafort:

Manafort has made a decades-long career drifting between GOP presidential politics and lucrative lobbying and consulting work. The firm he helped found developed a niche representing a roster of controversial international clients that has been described as “the torturers’ lobby.” Clients included Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko, Angolan guerrilla Jonas Savimbi, a group accused of being a front for Pakistani intelligence, and — most recently — ousted Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. In fact, the last time Manafort was intricately involved in a presidential campaign was Bob Dole’s unsuccessful 1996 bid, and he has been largely absent from GOP politics and Washington for years.

Those of us who are not blinded by the light have tried to warn you.