The past few days have terrible if you work for the Trump campaign or the Republican National Committee. With the ongoing media saga between Donald Trump and Khizr Khan, the Muslim Gold Star father who spoke at the Democratic convention, the Clinton campaign is actively recruiting GOP bigwhigs in attempt to show a party in meltdown.
One of the first to announce public support is former Republican Senate candidate Meg Whitman, as the Times reports:
Meg Whitman, a Hewlett Packard executive and Republican fund-raiser, said Tuesday that she would support Hillary Clinton for president and give a “substantial” contribution to her campaign in order to stop Donald J. Trump, whom she berated as a threat to American democracy.
“I will vote for Hillary, I will talk to my Republican friends about helping her, and I will donate to her campaign and try to raise money for her,” Ms. Whitman said in a telephone interview.
She revealed that Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic nominee, had reached out to her in a phone call about a month ago, one of the first indications that Mrs. Clinton is aggressively courting Republican leaders. While acknowledging she diverged from Mrs. Clinton on many policy issues, Ms. Whitman said it was time for Republicans “to put country first before party.”
Clearly Whitman isn’t the only Republican the Clinton campaign has contacted, there may be more in the queue which could further hurt the GOP if big name donors are seen jumping party lines.
Other outlets are reporting on serious disagreements within the Trump campaign and frustration among staffers, from CNN:
Sources close to the campaign are describing a series of missteps that are trailing the GOP presidential nominee, most prominently his now multi-day battle against Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a killed US soldier.
Trump has spent the days since the Democratic convention litigating whether their son is a hero, and on Tuesday only moved onto an equally unhelpful news cycle: whether he supports House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the 2008 presidential nominee, John McCain, in their primaries.
A knowledgeable Republican source told CNN that some of Trump’s campaign staff — even campaign manager Paul Manafort — “feel like they are wasting their time,” given Trump’s recent comments. And two sources close to the Trump campaign said privately they wished Trump would apologize to the Gold Star family, even though the Khans attacked Trump from the stage at the Democratic National Convention last month.
Some of this appears to be a media-fueled frenzy over attacking everything and anything that Trump does at this point. On the other hand, there clearly is some frustration happening at the RNC so I imagine the reality lies somewhere between angry staffers and a total meltdown.
In related news, Newt Gingrich is apparently at the forefront of an effort to have an “intervention” with Trump to get him back on message. The fact that I’m even writing that sentence is indication that Trump has not had a good first week of the general election campaign up to this point.
Key Republicans close to Donald Trump’s orbit are plotting an intervention with the candidate after a disastrous 48 hours led some influential voices in the party to question whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket without catastrophic consequences for his campaign and the GOP at large.
Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among the Trump endorsers hoping to talk the real estate mogul into a dramatic reset of his campaign in the coming days, sources tell NBC News.
The group of GOP heavyweights hopes to enlist the help of Trump’s children — who comprise much of his innermost circle of influential advisers — to aid in the attempt to rescue his candidacy. Trump’s family is considered to have by far the most influence over the candidate’s thinking at what could be a make-or-break moment for his campaign.
This has to be the fifth or sixth “rescue his candidacy” story I’ve seen over the past six to nine months, and every time, Trump comes out of it and carries on. The difference, perhaps this time compared to the primaries, is that we’re down to just two major candidates (and 2 minor candidates – Hi Gary and Jill), so there are fewer squirrels for the media to chase around.
For his part, Donald Trump says he has no regrets over how he’s responded and handled this week with Khizr Khan, another reality that has some GOP donors irritated to no end.
It has been a bumpy start to August, and we’ve still got 96 long days to go.