The GOP’s winding path to unification around Donald Trump has had the collateral damage of muddling Democrats’ message as they try to settle on a playbook to go after the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Is the Republican Party doomed because it’s hopelessly dis-unified, with Republican leaders keeping their distance from Trump? Or is it doomed because it’s running towards Trump and embracing him? Democrats aren’t sure.
Trump emerged from his meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan Thursday without an endorsement, but with a statement saying the two leaders had “few differences.”
That left Democrats advancing two different narratives, each in tension with the other.
The campaign of Hillary Clinton emphasized the non-endorsement.
They quickly added Ryan’s name to a long list of others in the “chorus of Republicans and conservative commentators from around the country rejecting his unpredictable, risky and divisive candidacy.” The list includes Republican elected officials and conservative thought leaders, some whom are also featured in a video the campaign produced of Republicans distancing themselves from Trump and criticizing the nominee.
The message: Donald Trump is so terrible, even Republican leaders want nothing to do with him.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress took a different tact.