Deeply Frustrated GOP Leadership Can't Dump Trump but Are Working on Plan if He Exits
Sources inside the Republican National Committee have confirmed to The New Civil Rights Movement that senior party officials are preparing to set in motion the process to select a candidate to replace embattled GOP nominee Donald Trump.
One official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the Party Leadership cannot force the New York businessman to quit. He noted, however, that given Trump's refusal to endorse Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a general lack of support for other candidates in the GOP fold has angered party officials to the "point of no return."
Trump has also lost any semblance of support by party stalwarts, the latest defection occurring Tuesday when Meg Whitman, Hewlett Packard CEO and a major Republican fundraiser, said she would support Secretary Hillary Clinton as well as give a "substantial" contribution to Clinton's campaign in order to "stop Trump," whom she sees as a "threat to American democracy."
Trump's bombastic style coupled with his gaffes on the campaign trail have further angered officials, the latest coming during a campaign rally at a high school in suburban Loudoun County, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. Tuesday, where he threw a crying baby and mother out of the rally.
Trump's ongoing public battle with the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, a decorated Muslim-American killed in Iraq in 2004, who appeared at the Democratic Party National Convention last week and denounced Trump's statements about their fellow Muslims, and questioned his knowledge of the U.S. Constitution has also angered senior Republicans who have publicly distanced themselves from his remarks.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters, "This is going to a place where we've never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen. There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics â€” that you don't do â€” like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you."
The DNC speech made by Khan's father Khizr paid homage to his son and a criticized Trump's statements that he wanted to bar non-American Muslims from entering the United States. Khizr Khan also took aim at the billionaire real estate mogul, saying that Trump did not understand that people of many backgrounds had given their lives in service of their nation.
"Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?" Khizr Khan asked. "You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing. And no one."
Trump later attacked Khan's wife Ghazala by suggesting she was unable to speak due to her Muslim faith.
"If you look at his wife, she was standing there," he told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos."She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that."
Ghazala Khan later wrote in an editorial published by the Washington Post the morning after Trump's comments to Stephanopoulos, that she did not speak because of the powerful emotion that the photo of her son, which was prominently displayed in the hall, evoked.
Senior GOP leaders are also frustrated with Trump's sometimes bizarre behavior as polling numbers show a narrower lead for the Democratic nominee, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Republican Party Chair, Reince Priebus is angered at Trump's disregard for the numerous requests by Priebus to change course drastically and to watch the tenor of his public utterances.
On Wednesday, ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl, speaking about Republican leaders behind the scenes examining party rules and maneuvering to prepare to replace Trump, told George Stephanopoulos that Trump "is so unpredictable right now, they are so unable to control his message, that they just don't know and clearly think it is a possibility, which is why they're looking at these rules," Karl said.
"I have to say the frustration is especially deep because they believe that Hillary Clinton looks vulnerable," Karl said, "and had a bad few days, the DNC has gone through a whole shake-up."
"She misstated what that director said about her emails. One top official told me if Trump had gone on vacation for the past two weeks, he would be in the lead. But, yes, he can still raise money and still has support among the Republican rank-and-file."
Karl added that the Republican Party could not force Trump out of the race now that he's their nominee, but he might solve their problem by dropping out.
"He would have to go out voluntarily, then it would be the 168 members of the RNC, through a complicated process, that would pick a new candidate," Karl said. "It would have to happen by early September."
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