Presidential Campaign

RNC: Trump will be on ballot

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The Republican National Committee is categorically denying reports that party officials are looking into how to replace Donald Trump in case he drops out of the presidential race before Election Day.

No one at national party headquarters has been instructed to look into that doomsday scenario, RNC strategist Sean Spicer said, and speculation that the RNC might pressure Trump to drop out of the race is unfounded.

{mosads}Spicer insisted that there is no chance that anyone else will be the ballot in November.

“Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party full-stop,” Spicer told The Hill. “That’s the reality. The rest is just a media-pundit concoction.”

The Trump campaign is also dismissing reports of turmoil in the campaign and the Republican Party as a media creation.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort noted in a Fox News interview that Team Trump raised $80 million in July, its best haul yet, and said that the campaign is furiously expanding in key battleground states.

He shot down a report that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other Trump allies were planning an “intervention” for the candidate to get him back on track.

“The only need we have for an intervention is maybe with some media types who keep saying things that aren’t true,” Manafort said.

Still, party leaders are working furiously to get Trump back on message after a disastrous stretch in which he has veered wildly off course and renewed fears among Republicans that he will lead them to electoral disaster in the fall.

One party source told The Hill that Priebus is “furious” with Trump for spending the last few days publicly feuding with the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier and for declining to endorse Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) reelection bid.

Priebus is close friends with Ryan, a fellow Wisconsin native, and their supporters believe both men have stuck their necks out for Trump only to have him turn around and humiliate them.

Priebus has communicated his anger to Manafort and other campaign officials, pushing for Trump to turn his fire on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, rather than GOP leaders.

Those closest to Trump are leaning on him to do the same.
A source close to the campaign told The Hill that Manafort and Trump’s adult children, who together make up his most influential team of advisers, are “distraught” over the billionaire’s detour into chaos over the last week. 

Manafort and Trump’s children are privately urging the candidate to drop his attacks against the Khan family, to stop picking fights with GOP leaders and Republicans up for reelection, and to return to the message that helped him win the GOP primary, the source said.

“The last week he would not drop this thing with the Khans and he would not get back on message,” a source close to the campaign said.

“They’re all working on him,” the source added. “He’ll say ‘yes’, but then he’ll go out and get provoked or start talking stream of consciousness … they’re hopeful, Paul’s hopeful and the family’s hopeful that they’ll get him back on track and that’s about all I can tell you.”

Neither Manafort nor a spokeswoman for Trump’s children responded to requests for comment.

The Trump campaign and the RNC were in crisis mode on Wednesday as they worked to beat back a host of media reports about campaign turmoil and the possibility that Trump is eyeing an exit route.

Trump’s campaign has been embroiled in controversy for the last week as he publicly feuded with Khizr Khan, the father of a U.S. solider who died in Iraq, for criticizing him on stage at the Democratic National Convention.

Trump’s top allies — Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, among them — have admonished Trump for criticizing the Gold Star family or have been critical of him for being too easily distracted.

“The question is can he … slow down, take a deep breath and reorganize how he’s operating so that he can get to the standard of running for president,” Gingrich (R-Ga.), a former House Speaker, said Wednesday on CNBC. “He’s not done that up to now … which has been very disheartening to his supporters.”

Republicans and Democrats have lined up to rebuke Trump for engaging in the political fight with the Khans, which has given new fodder to critics who say the GOP nominee is erratic and unfit for office.

President Obama made that case from the White House on Tuesday, citing the Khan controversy, and Democrats up and down the ballot are putting the heat on GOP leaders and Republicans up for election to cut ties with Trump.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) on Tuesday cited Trump’s feud with the Khans when he became the first GOP member of Congress to announce he’d vote for Clinton.

Several other high-profile Republican figures have also announced this week that they’re leaving the party in this election, including billionaire businesswoman Meg Whitman, who has pledged to raise money for Clinton.

Trump exacerbated his problem with skeptical Republicans in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday in which he declined to endorse Ryan, who has been critical of the GOP nominee on occasion but is supporting his presidential bid.

Even Trump’s top allies on Capitol Hill were confounded as to why he had picked a fight with Ryan, who faces a primary challenge next week.

“I think that Trump needs to have a bigger tent and a bigger heart,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a Trump supporter. “He’s the GOP nominee now and has to be more forgiving, has to be the bigger man in these cases.”

Trump’s twin controversies have dominated headlines for days, frustrating his allies and giving new ammunition to his critics.

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has had to sweep up Trump’s messes on both occasions.

Pence released a statement over the weekend calling the late Capt. Humayun Khan a “hero” and saying that his family should be “cherished.”

On Wednesday, Pence announced that he “strongly” supports Ryan for reelection.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mike Pence Paul Ryan

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