Republicans Fall In and Out of Line Behind Trump
Since Donald Trump claimed the mantle of “presumptive” GOP nominee on Tuesday, Republican power brokers and elected officials have been called on to decide whether they are offering support to the nominee, or if they’re holding out in the “#NeverTrump” camp. Here’s a short rundown of the “yay” and “nay” of Trump support.
Former 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney says he won’t back Trump, and won’t even attend the convention:
Mitt Romney has no intention to support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and said Thursday that he is “dismayed” by populism on both sides of the aisle.
“I see way too much demagoguery and populism on both sides of the aisle and I only hope and aspire that we’ll see more greatness,” the former governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee said at an awards gala for American Friends of Hebrew University, The Washington Examiner reports. He said, “I’m certainly going to be hoping that we find someone who I have my confidence in who becomes nominee. I don’t intend on supporting either of the major party candidates at this point.”
Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush will not be offering their endorsement:
Spokesmen for former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush told The Texas Tribune the Bushes won’t be on the list of Trump endorsers.
“At age 91, President Bush is retired from politics,” a spokesman for Bush 41 told The Texas Tribune. “He came out of retirement to do a few things for Jeb, but those were the exceptions that proved the rule.”
And his son Bush 43? No plans either.
He “does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign,” a spokesman for Bush 43 told the Tribune.
House Speaker Paul Ryan initially said he “wasn’t ready” to back Trump, but it now appears the two are set to meet next week:
Republicans are working on a big political summit next week: Donald Trump and Paul Ryan.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said Friday he will meet next week with the Republican House speaker in the wake of Ryan’s comments that he is not yet prepared to back Trump.
Ryan’s refusal is “not a good thing” and “something the party should get solved quickly,” Trump said Friday on Fox & Friends, adding that he was surprised by the speaker’s comments.
“I mean, he talks about unity, but what is this about unity?” Trump said. “With millions of people coming into the party, obviously I’m saying the right thing.”
Ryan said Thursday he is not prepared to endorse Trump because of questions about his commitment to conservatism.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the first this week to offer his endorsement:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) affirmed on Wednesday that he will support presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and urged fellow Republicans to do the same.
“I have committed to supporting the nominee chosen by Republican voters, and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee is now on the verge of clinching that nomination,” McConnell said in a statement.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry told CNN Thursday he will support Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee and will do everything he can do to help him get elected.
Perry, speaking by phone from his hometown of Roundtop, Texas, acknowledged Trump is not his ideal choice. When Perry was a candidate for president earlier in the 2016 cycle, he was the first to come out and criticize Trump and question his conservative credentials, calling his candidacy a “cancer on conservatism.”
“He is not a perfect man. But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them,” Perry said Thursday.
Last, but certainly not least, Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson says he’ll also support Trump:
The casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson said on Thursday night that he would support Donald J. Trump now that he has become the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
“Yes, I’m a Republican, he’s a Republican,” Mr. Adelson said in a brief interview. “He’s our nominee. Whoever the nominee would turn out to be, any one of the 17 — he was one of the 17. He won fair and square.”
Mr. Adelson made the comments while at a gala dinner in Manhattan for the World Values Network, a Jewish organization.
I’m sure there are more to add on this list, please feel free to expand in the comments.
Another worth mentioning is Rand Paul, who now says he’s on board with Trump:
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, asked on Thursday if he would endorse Donald Trump now that he’s the party’s presumptive nominee, answered that he has always said he would back the winner of the Republican primary.
“You know, I’ve always said I’ll endorse the nominee,” Paul said in an interview with interviewed by radio host Leland Conway. “I said that even when I ran [for Senate] in 2010.”
Paul then turned to criticizing Hillary Clinton.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is ready for Trump:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney will support Donald Trump, he told CNN Friday, an important move as the presumptive Republican nominee is encountering intense resistance from senior members of his own party.
Cheney told CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel that he has always supported the GOP nominee and will do so this year as well.
Jeb Bush says he is not voting for Hillary Clinton–or Donald Trump:
In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life. For Republicans, there is no greater priority than ensuring we keep control of both chambers of Congress. I look forward to working hard for great conservatives in the Senate and House in the coming months.