The hot word for today, boys and girls, is intervention.
Key Republicans close to Donald Trump’s orbit are plotting an intervention with the candidate after a disastrous 48 hours led some influential voices in the party to question whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket without catastrophic consequences for his campaign and the GOP at large.
Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among the Trump endorsers hoping to talk the real estate mogul into a dramatic reset of his campaign in the coming days, sources tell NBC News.
Priebus, Giuliani and Gingrich? Excuse me while I roll around on the floor and guffaw for a bit.
Stunned Republicans began seriously considering the idea of an exit ramp after an extraordinary few days during which Trump continually lashed out against a Gold Star family critical of his position on Muslim immigration, declared that he’d “always wanted” a Purple Heart but that it’s “easier” to receive one as a gift, and declined to endorse top Republican candidates including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Sources in the candidate’s orbit tell NBC News Trump is aware of the dissatisfaction within the party. But while some labeled the state of affairs “Crazytown” and “worse than ever,” they also described a sense of powerlessness, bemoaning the fact there’s “nothing that we can do, that anybody can do right now.”
There’s absolutely no indication Trump is considering leaving the race, a move that would seem wildly out of character for a candidate who has prided himself on “winning” and grasped at any poll that shows him dominating an opponent.
However, this guy has no problem whatsoever with declaring bankruptcies, which suggests he isn’t utterly out of touch with the real world. If he continues to fall behind Clinton in the race, what will he do? Will he stay and lose or quit and whine that he was forced out because somebody was mean to him? IMO either one is possible.
If you missed all the ways Trump is having a no good, very bad week, NBC provides a list:
- In a Washington Post interview, Trump declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan against his primary challenger
- He reiterated that he hasn’t endorsed Sen. John McCain and said the onetime prisoner of war “has not done a good job for the vets”
- He slapped out at Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, saying “she has given me zero support”
- He suggested that Americans should pull their 401(k) funds out of the stock market
- He said he’s “always wanted” to receive a Purple Heart but that having one gifted to him by a supporter was “much easier”
- He said that the handling of sexual harassment has “got to be up to the individual”
- He accused Khizr Khan of being “bothered” by his plan to keep terrorists out of the country, and said that he had no regrets about his clash with the family
- He appeared to feud with a crying baby during a rally
- He reiterated that “if the election is rigged, I would not be surprised”
- The sitting president of the United States publicly called Trump “unfit to serve” and urged Republicans to withdraw their support for him.
- Trump spokesman Katrina Pierson suggested that Obama and Clinton are to blame for the death of Humayan Khan, who died in 2004, when neither were in the executive branch at the time
- An ally of Paul Manafort told our colleague John Harwood at CNBC that the campaign chairman is “mailing it in,” leaving the rest of the staff “suicidal.”
- Sitting GOP congressman Richard Hanna, HP head Meg Whitman and former Christie aide Maria Comella all said they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton
- The Washington Post released a transcript of its full interview with Trump, indicating among other things that he paused five times to watch TV coverage in the middle of the sit-down
- A GOP source told NBC’s Katy Tur that Reince Priebus is “apoplectic” over Trump’s refusal to endorse Ryan and is making calls to the campaign to express his “extreme displeasure”
Here’s one more: Yesterday Donald Trump declined to endorse Paul Ryan in his Senate primary bid next week. Today, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence said he does endorse Ryan. This comes under the heading of “stuff that’s not supposed to happen.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel assures its readers that Ryan will win, but in fact I can find no recent election polling in Wisconsin. I think people are just assuming that the Mighty Ryan won’t lose. They’re probably right.