ALBANY - A longtime point man for Donald Trump says you can expect the Republican nominee to make a case that, regardless of the defection of some Republican leaders over Trump’s lewd videotaped comments, he is the key to America’s survival as a beacon to the world.

Just how Trump will conduct his campaign in the closing weeks has been unclear after he declared that “the shackles have been taken off me, and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”

Millionaire Buffalo developer Carl Paladino, one of Trump’s longest, closest and most loyal supporters, said he knows.

“What you will hear from Donald leading up this next debate and in the debate is a guy who is talking at 50,000 feet and a guy who is talking about what direction the country is going to go,” Paladino told Newsday in an interview on Wednesday.

“These specific issues have ground over and ground over,” Paladino said Wednesday. “He will explain how important this election is the survival of the America that we all know.”

He said that message will continue to resonate with a voters even as some Republican leaders condemned Trump’s recently released comments caught on a 2005 videotape about how he believed and other celebrities can force themselves on beautiful women. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wouldn’t defend or campaign with Trump, stopping just short of withdrawing his endorsement.

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“I don’t think anyone gives a hell about what the 20 or 22 Republicans do,” said Paladino, who has served as Trump’s surrogate in national TV interviews. “They don’t have a place in our society in the future, and I would hope that message gets out loud and clear.”

Paladino compared Trump to President Teddy Roosevelt, who spoke about the honor and grit of a besieged “man in the arena.”

“They’re cowards,” Paladino said of defecting Republicans. “They are thinking about their jobs rather than what’s good for America.”