Presidential races

Never Trump voices face tough decision

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Never Trump Republicans are in a bind over Donald Trump.

Do they support a candidate despised by many, or do they stick to their mantra and oppose his White House bid?

{mosads}Several signaled the morning after Ted Cruz dropped out of the GOP presidential race that they intended to fight on even with Trump now their party’s presumptive nominee, while some elected Republicans have resigned themselves to support him.

Here’s a look at where a number of top Republicans stand:

Bill Kristol

The editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine caught attention earlier this week after suggesting some flexibility on his #NeverTrump position.

“On the one hand, I’ll say ‘never Trump’ and on the other hand I’ll say ‘never say never’ and I’ll leave it ambiguous,” Kristol said on Newsmax TV. He later dismissed the comment as a joke. 

“The battle for the 2016 GOP nomination is over. The battle for the soul of the Republican Party (or its successor) has just begun,” Kristol insisted Wednesday.

Mitt Romney

It’s hard to see Romney backing Trump.

The 2012 White House nominee maintained in early March that he “cannot in good conscience” vote for Trump in November, saying he’d opt for a third-party pick instead of a “degrading and disruptive and unhinged” candidate.

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), a backer of Trump, suggested Wednesday that Romney believes Trump will defeat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Brown said on Boston Herald Radio’s “Morning Meeting” program that he’s heard from others that Romney has recently remarked, “if it’s between Hillary and Trump, Trump wins.”

The former Massachusetts governor helped Trump’s rivals during the primary, and sent a tweet Tuesday night thanking Ted Cruz, the businessman’s last major foe, for “making a fight for conservatism, American leadership and freedom.”

Ted Cruz

The runner-up in the race for delegates has plenty of reason not to want to back Trump.

Cruz witnessed the businessman mock his wife’s appearance when he compared an unflattering shot of Heidi Cruz to an image of his own wife Melania, a former model.

On Tuesday, Trump highlighted a false tabloid story linking Cruz’s father, Rafael, to John F. Kennedy’s assassin.

“I don’t make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family,” Cruz declared in late March after attacks aimed at Heidi Cruz. 

The Texas senator unloaded on Trump as “utterly immoral,” and a “narcissist” and “pathological liar” hours before votes were counted in Indiana.

He made no mention of the real estate mogul in his lofty concession speech late Tuesday.

Ron Paul 

The libertarian-leaning former Texas congressman and presidential candidate has for months said he won’t support Trump as the nominee. He argued Wednesday there was little difference between Trump and Clinton. 

“I’ll make my vote count,” Paul told Fox Business. “I’ll vote for an alternative party. To vote for the lesser of two evils makes no difference.”

Lindsey Graham

The South Carolina senator and former GOP presidential candidate has long predicted disaster for Republicans in November with Trump. He sent a tweet hours before Cruz dropped out on Tuesday stating, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.”

Graham ripped Trump’s foreign policy views earlier Tuesday at conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., saying the GOP had “lost its way.”

Marco Rubio

Some think the Florida senator could be coming around to Trump, who has mentioned Rubio as a possible vice presidential pick.

Rubio, who will leave Congress at the end of the year, grabbed headlines recently for remarking that Trump’s “performance has improved significantly.”

Alex Conant, the former communications director for Rubio’s failed presidential bid, described the subsequent reports of Rubio warming to Trump as “false.”

Rubio held on to his delegates even after leaving the race in mid-March in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. He has long said that he’ll support the eventual nominee, even if he doesn’t refer to him by name.

Bobby Jindal

“I would vote for him over Hillary Clinton,” Jindal, an early and provocative critic of Trump, said Tuesday on CNN.

“Anybody that says they cannot support Donald Trump needs to understand … one of the consequences is that will make it easier for Hillary Clinton to win,” he added later on Fox News.

Jindal, the former Louisiana governor, delivered a stinging speech in Washington ripping Trump as “insecure” and “dangerous” two months before dropping out of the race in November.

He emphasized Tuesday the marginal advantage of Republicans opting for Trump, arguing with him that there was “a chance” at at repealing ObamaCare and controlling the Supreme Court. 

Karl Rove

“Trump can’t count on the automatic enthusiasm of all Republicans for him as most candidates after heated primaries have been able to do,” the GOP strategist said Monday on Fox Business.

“This is not a guy who has been a life-long Republican,” the former senior Bush White House aide said, mentioning Trump’s past support for Democrats. “This is not a guy who is going to find it easy.”

Rove last month clarified that he was not warming to Trump himself after a report that his super-PAC was planning to advertise against Clinton if she’s the Democrats’ nominee.

Erick Erickson

The conservative pundit came out in February against voting for Trump as the nominee. “Principled conservatives will have to go elsewhere even as the charlatans heckle them as helping Hillary Clinton,” he wrote early Wednesday.

“From here on out, it will be somewhat refreshing to cover this race hating them all,” he added. He remarked later, “People without principle don’t understand how people with principle could oppose both Trump and Hillary.”

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Ted Cruz
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