His boss made the same point yesterday, saying, “We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself,” and warning them to at least “be quiet” if they don’t want to be part of the team. For once, I completely agree. It’s time for the GOP to stop being half-pregnant about Trump’s fitness for office. Go all-in for the nominee or go in the other direction.
I don’t think Paul Ryan agrees, though.
Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong initially called out, “Last question!” as NBC News’s Luke Russert asked about Trump banning The Washington Post.
The Speaker expressed hope the conflict would be “worked out.” Then, overruling his aide, he offered the two Washington Post reporters at the press conference an opportunity to ask the final question.
Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis proceeded to ask Ryan for a response to Trump telling GOP leaders to “please be quiet” and the implications on the separation of powers.
“You can’t make this up sometimes,” Ryan said.
He won’t rescind his endorsement, though. How about the RNC? Surely Trump’s relationship with Priebus is better than his relationship with Ryan. Reince is running Trump’s ground game in the fall, after all, and he’ll be key in helping Trump raise money from now until November. And unlike Ryan, Reince has held off on any harsh criticism of Trump over the last few weeks. The Trump/Priebus marriage of convenience will give the nominee a fighting chance against Hillary.
…Unless that marriage is headed for a divorce:
In recent days, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has privately grumbled that his advice doesn’t seem welcome with Trump, according to one RNC insider. Other party officials have expressed frustration that Trump’s campaign is trying to take too much control over a pair of fundraising committees with the party while adding little to the effort, according to campaign and party officials familiar with the relationship.
While Trump had promised Priebus that he would call two dozen top GOP donors, when RNC chief of staff Katie Walsh recently presented Trump with a list of more than 20 donors, he called only three before stopping, according to two sources familiar with the situation. It’s unclear whether he resumed the donor calls later…
“I don’t think we are going to take a lot of political advice from Priebus,” a campaign official said. “From my perspective, we should not be relying on the RNC for much, because I’m not sure they are fully supportive yet,” the campaign official said, adding “but we hope and expect to soon be on the exact same page.”
Even more bizarre: The RNC recently hired — ta da — Rick Wiley, who was fired a few weeks ago by Trump’s campaign. Some Trump staffers reportedly took that as “a direct f— you to the campaign.” Presented by Politico with nine specific questions about Wiley, fundraising, and how they’re getting along with Trump these days, the RNC took Trump’s and Clovis’s advice and shut the hell up, refusing to comment. There’s dysfunctional, there’s really dysfunctional, and then there’s this.
Go back to the excerpt above and focus on that last boldfaced part. You’ve got Team Trump insinuating that the RNC might try to sabotage Trump’s campaign by deliberately feeding him bad advice. Meanwhile, anti-Trumpers of various stripes across the party have been whispering to reporters for months that they fear Trump is out on a self-promoting lark here and either doesn’t care if he becomes president or doesn’t want to win because he doesn’t want the responsibility of governing. (The claim that Trump isn’t bothering to call donors won’t change any minds about that either.) To put that another way, you’ve got the Republican nominee for president and the Republican National Committee seemingly mutually suspicious that their electoral partner is actively trying to lose. How does that get resolved? If this relationship has already deteriorated this far in mid-June, with Trump showing no signs of toning down his shtick, what’s going to change between now and November to make this arrangement more tolerable to both parties? Is it a simple matter of both sides having no choice but to cling to each other after the convention because Trump will officially be the only game in town? I think the RNC’s kidding themselves if they believe that. If Trump’s down big with six weeks to go before Election Day, he’ll turn on them viciously and begin the scapegoating that his fans demand and that everyone else knows is coming.
In other news about Republicans not shutting the hell up today, Mark Kirk told a local radio show in Chicago that he’s writing in David Petraeus this fall because Trump is “too bigoted and racist” to be president. One big happy Republican family.