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Trump’s open path to nomination causes agony for some in GOP

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at a town hall meeting in Portland, Ore. on April 28.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference Tuesday in New York.

WASHINGTON >> Donald Trump’s last Republican foe, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, ended his quixotic presidential campaign today, cementing Trump’s remarkable triumph as his party’s presumptive nominee and launching him to a likely fall battle with Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump’s victory spurred some reluctant Republicans to rally around him, though others agonized over their party’s future.

Trump vowed to unite the splintered GOP, even as he was bitingly dismissive of members who have been critical of his campaign.

“Those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we served two terms,” he said on NBC’s “Today” Show. “Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want.”

Clinton, in her first remarks since Trump’s new status was crystalized, said she was more than prepared to handle the kind of deeply personal attacks that helped defeat Trump’s Republican rivals.

“To me, this is the classic case of a blustering, bullying guy,” Clinton told CNN.

The long and chaotic Republican primary came to an abrupt end after Trump’s decisive victory Tuesday in Indiana. His win pushed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, his closest rival, out of the race, with Kasich following a day later.

Trump’s takeover of the GOP marks one of the most stunning political feats in modern political history. A first-time candidate, he eschewed traditional fundraising and relied more on his own star power than television advertising to draw attention. He also flouted political decorum with controversial statements about women and minorities, leaving some Republicans convinced he can’t cobble together the diverse coalition needed to win the general election.

“It’s his party between now and November, but I don’t think it’s going to be his party after November,” said Peter Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. Wehner is among the Republicans vowing to never vote for Trump, even if that means essentially handing Clinton the presidency.

Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader who backed Cruz, withheld his support for Trump Wednesday, saying the real estate mogul needs to prove his conservative credentials with his vice presidential pick and more information about what kind of judges he would appoint. “It’s kind of a wait and see moment with Mr. Trump,” he said.

Vander Plaats is among the Republicans clinging to the hope that an alternative option might yet emerge. Operatives have floated former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn as possible candidates for a third party or independent bid. But that path is a long-shot at best, with filing deadlines for getting on state ballots fast approaching.

There was notable silence from major Republican leaders Wednesday. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not comment on Trump. Spokespeople for Bush and Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, also did not respond to inquiries.

Still, several GOP governors and senators said Wednesday that they would support Trump, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

“Our first and foremost goal is to elect a conservative, pro-business, strong on national defense, a man who will stand behind our freedoms and our rights, and that person is Donald Trump,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said. “It is not Hillary Clinton.”

Clinton has yet to shake Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist who has energized young people and liberals with his calls for sweeping government-run health care and education programs. Still, Clinton has 93 percent of the delegates she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination and now is focusing the bulk of her attention on Trump.

“He is a loose cannon and loose cannons tend to misfire,” Clinton said Wednesday. Her campaign also released a web ad featuring clips of prominent Republicans, including his former rivals, bashing Trump.

Both Clinton and Trump head into the general election with historically high unfavorable ratings. But Clinton is generally popular within her own party, particularly with women and minority voters who are crucial to winning general election battleground states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada.

Some Republicans fear Trump’s poor standing with those voters will not only cost the party the White House for a third straight term but the GOP’s Senate majority as well. Some Republican senators in tough races struggled Wednesday to position themselves in a party with Trump at the helm, including New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte who said that while she would support the businessman in a general election, she would not endorse his candidacy.

Trump turned quickly toward the general election, saying he would begin accepting more political donations and was starting to vet potential running mates. He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he was inclined to “go the political route” and pick someone with legislative experience.

He later said he could consider Kasich, predicting the Ohio governor would be helpful this fall in any role given his state’s significance in the general election.

Though armed with an extensive resume in politics, Kasich struggled to connect with Republican primary voters in a year dominated by anti-establishment frustration. He was a more moderate candidate who embraced elements of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and called for an optimistic and proactive Republican agenda.

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  • Kasich did the right thing. Nothing personal. It’s how the game is played. Dirty business. Now they have to bury the hatchet. Bernie, Ted, John and Donald should join forces and go after crooked Hillary.

    • It was a bizarre campaign this year and a real sign of the troubled times we face. Kasich was a solid centrist and fully qualified to be president. He is Governor of a very large state and had worked wonders there. Many Democrats even like him. He was a very good Congressman before that and educated, rational and fully qualified. Repubs. are stuck with Trump now…a nightmare of their own making. Cruz was another nightmare, a phony and a worm. I am glad he is gone. What a dangerous man.

    • Lespark, with the voters speaking in Indiana supporting Donald Trump, both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have done the right thing. Now, with Hillary and Bernie continuing their primary challenge, they cannot focus resources for the General election. Also, Burnie is beginning to challenge Hillary and that challenge creates a huge problem for Hillary, if she becomes the Democrat Presidential nominee. It’s interesting that Ted Cruz has two more years in the U.S. Senate and now serves as the power on the U.S. Senate Judicial Committee, who will Advise and Consent on President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee. We will have an Associate Justice that will be an Originalist. It will also impact all Federal Judicial nominees for years to come. There is a God.

      • You’re correct. In effect, we now have to choose between a lying, corrupt, self-serving incompetent and the political equivalent of diving of the 10 meter board into a pool filled with ping pong balls. Choices, choices.

        • Yeah, why does Hawaii keep voting in the ‘same’ people ?

          No choices is not an excuse. It’s reality.

  • Was that loser ever in the race??? Like he stood a chance….same with loser Cruz who is not even liked by his colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
    Both are trying to save face when, in fact, Trump, TRUMPED THEM BADLY. Nothing more and nothing less.

  • The Republicans bad mouthing Trump aren’t really Republicans. They are only people concerned about their own individual self-interest over Republican principles, the Party, the Nation, and the interests of the people.

    • You seem unaware that Trump’s policies aren’t anywhere in line with the GOP. As I’ve stated many times here, Hillary is more of a Republican than Trump is and Trump is more of a Democrat than Hillary is.

      Trump isn’t even a RINO. He’s more of a RIIO, Republican In Illusion Only.

      • Choyd – you make some interesting and very informative intellectual comments but what I think we’re going through with Trump is a sort of revolution. People are sick and tired of the establishment. The politics not only with the republicans but with the democraps too. The US government cannot be trusted because the government is not for the people anymore it’s for the insiders. Just my opinion. I just don’t want hillary – she’ll prove herself to be the worse president ever!!

        • Be that as it may, Trump cannot do what he promises to do and the ugly thing about letting Trump win the Presidency is that it turns the GOP into a party that USED to believe (but did not necessarily practice) in small government, stable foreign relationships and free trade into a xenophobic, racist, anti-trade, anti-diplomacy, bigger government version of the Democratic party.

          I’m not saying Hillary is a good candidate, but Trump’s policies will flush all of America’s influence and 70+ years of post WWII stability down the drain. There is a reason why the foreign policy wonks and free traders of the GOP are coming out as planning to vote for Hillary.

    • The People for Trump – the establishment against him. Just like Theodore Roosevelt who was one of the best presidents ever. Trump would be the best president since Theodore.

        • “Republican voters for Trump.” More like “Uneducated angry white people for Trump.”

          These fools think that Trump will somehow magically undo the trade agreements that millions of American jobs rely on without any damage to those jobs. And that somehow, he’ll be able to get unsubstantiated tariffs through a pro-trade Republican House and somehow not get every other nation to levy retaliatory tariffs in return. The lessons of Smoot-Hawley act are completely lost on these middle school drop outs. Furthermore, Trump ignores how automation and technology have dramatically reduced the need for labor. So many uneducated Trumpites think that jobs = output, but fail to notice how three workers overseeing a million robots can produce vast quantities of goods. And that’s before we start selling out our allies as if a 70+ year old alliance is just a land deal. How much influence will America have when it views decades old relationships as disposal deals? Let’s not even get started on how he’s for nuclear arms races.

          There is NO reason why anyone who believes in American leadership in the world, growth through trade and peace though diplomacy should be backing Trump.

        • You seem unaware that Trump has the votes of millions of folks and they all are not uneducated Trumpites. How about Ed Rollins, Bobby Knight and Lou Holtz? Great Americans. Care to explain? Guess you will fall back on the old white men argument. When you talk about fools try looking in the mirror. IMHO

        • “Any Republican who claims that it’s better to elect Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton either lacks proper judgment, or has become so blinded by partisan ideology that they have lost objectivity….

          Most have not done so because they truly believe in Mr. Trump, but because they have been blinded by personal ambition, ideology, and partisan politics.”

          – David Ross Meyers, Fox News, “A message for my fellow Republicans: If you back Trump you will not be trusted again” May 03, 2016

        • Sarge, you completely and utterly failed to address why Trump is full of garbage.

          But what else can I expect from an uneducated angry white guy?

        • Sarge, do you realize Lou Holtz is backing Trump because he thinks his golf courses and hotels are nice? Never mind that Trump for the most part just licenses his name and his firm doesn’t handle any of the actual hotel or golf course management.

          Tell me how that is an educated position. You won’t of course.

        • Ed Rollins likely doing it for personal gain. You still haven’t addressed my point.

        • There is reason why anyone who believes in American leadership in the world, growth through trade and peace though diplomacy should be backing Trump. American leadership through strength which results in peace through diplomacy and fair trade. Iran peace deal and drawing red lines has proved to be failures. If you’re going to talk big you have to back it up. Hopefully Trump will do some of that. Should be fun watching Hillary squirm awaiting the FBI call.

        • Seriously Sarge? I cited specific problems and THAT is your response?

          The Iran agreement has ended the useful life of their main reactor, destroyed thousands of centrifuges and shipped out tons of fissile material. And it has generated inspections. That is far better than an active breeder reactor, thousands of functioning centrifuges and tons of fissile material ready for weapons projection along with no inspections.

          You don’t even bother to research anything and it shows.

          Again, angry, uneducated old white guys like you are Trump’s base.

        • Sarge is the poster child of why you don’t take LSD.

          Can’t address a single specific point. Thinks he’s educated.

        • Losers still talking smack. Can’t handle the truth. Bobby Knight??? The only response is personal attacks. Millions of voters have spoken. TRUMP 2016 and 2020.

  • President Donald Trump….nice ring. “Make America Great Again”. Get on the #TrumpTrain. And to all the naysayers/hiLIARy backers…Live With It!

      • Then you want more illegal immigration swamping the US and overpopulating everything. Hispanic Nation? Want to come like the other Hispanic Nations whose populations all want to run away from their own self-made misery?

        • Nevermind that we’re actually seeing negative illegal immigration as more leave than come.

          But facts never got in the way of a good ideological soapboxing eh?

        • The illegals are leaving because they fear Trump. He is already getting results. Trump 2016

        • Immigrants are mobilizing against Trump…No one can win without women, African Americans, & Latinos…

        • Sarge, are you saying that illegals knew since 2010 (when illegal immigration went net zero and then negative) that Trump was planning to actually run for President?

          Tell me how millions of illegals somehow knew what the RNC didn’t 4 years ago in mass.

          You’re growing as delusion as he is.

        • I wonder if Hillary will stay out of jail long enough to make it to the presidential elections?

    • So you hate on Obama for not having plans….but you’re praising Trump who has no plans?

      This election is going to be a case study in mass cognitive dissonance.

      Seems you’re voting for your fantasy of what you think will happen….not entirely unlike like people in 2008.

        • How exactly did that happen when I didn’t vote for him in either election?

          You seem to be unaware that I’ve called Obama, Bush III more than a dozen times here.

          And you refuse to answer the question, instead trying to change the topic.

        • Hey choyd How about a few multiple choice questions? We’re not all brain washed poli sci majors that excel in BS.

        • Sarge, why are you and your band of mental degenerates so incapable of answering simple questions?

          How about, for once, rather than attacking the person, you actually address their argument?

        • “Why are you and your band of mental degenerates so incapable of answering simple questions?” Who is the personal attack person? Is your mirror broken?

      • Sarge, do you see an answer to this question:

        So you hate on Obama for not having plans….but you’re praising Trump who has no plans?

        Or lots of attacks on me as pathetic attempts to avoid answering that question?

        I don’t expect you to answer. You never do.

        • Trump plans to win the election. Is there a better plan then that? The details you are referring to will be displayed in due time. Did anyone say they hated Obama? Disagreement does not equate to hate. Seems the libs love the hater, racist, nutcase, uneducated accusations. Did I miss any?

  • How pissed must Hillary be right now? Hillary & Bernie are going to attack each other until the convention, burning through cash and increasing the chances of blunders/mistakes that will alienate independents. Meanwhile if Trump is smart he can just lay low and not say anything outrageous, conserve cash, vet his VP pick, and refine his talking points/positions.

  • Someone please explain why Trump is so much worse than the currently supported SuperPac and Special Interest candidates? And tell me why during this election does the Press publish so much anti Trump editorials. The presses job is to report the news, not fabricate it or to push their own opinion on the American public.

  • Let the fun begin. Hillary vs Donald. Already terms like “loose cannon” are hurled at Trump by Hillary. Let’s see what the Donald will counterpunch with. Folks, it’s the ole Washington political establishment vs the outsiders that will be the issue. People are sick and tired of the same ole, same ole politicians who do nothing for us. Sure, Trump has to make up a lot of ground against minorities and immigrats. If he could get Nikki Haley to run as vp, that would really help with the women vote and with minorities as her folks are from India. I think a lot of Dems are so tired of the Clintons that they would welcome a fresh female voice. Remember a loose cannon might just turn around blow up Hillary. Anyway, sit back and enjoy a battle till election day.

  • Absolutely No Hillary. She cannot be trusted. As someone who voted democrat in the past. I see Hllary as someone without integrity She lied to the families of those killed at the embassy in Bengazi. Hillary doesn’t like to hold herself accountable for things she said or did. !!

  • Bad news. The only palatable candidate from either party has now left the building. Considering the pitiful offerings left to choose from, perhaps this cycle might see a strong move towards the Independent candidate, at least from voters able to see outside of their partisan enclaves..

      • If by “independent”, you’re referring to his obvious inappropriateness as a presidential candidate, then we are in agreement. There are however, a few noteworthy independents running, notably Gary Johnson from the Libertarian party. I rarely agree with choyd, but I do think his support of Johnson is well grounded, especially in light of Kasich’s withdrawal.

        • That would be interesting– Johnson as a none of the above candidate. Sounds just about as crazy as, well, Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination.

        • Gary Johnson is the ONLY decent candidate left. I don’t agree with everything he puts forth, but he’s by far the only decent one left. Him and Bernie are honest, but Johnson is far more Libertarian.

          Kasich COULD conceivably win the nomination through a brokered election, but I still wouldn’t support that as it would be effectively robbing the voters of their decision. I don’t agree with their decision, but that’s how a democracy works. For a handful of people at the top to say to over a dozen million votes that you don’t count would be completely unacceptable.

          Still, Trump takes some of the worst traits of the the Democrats and merges them with some of the worst traits of the Republicans and goes full snake oil salesman on you. The only thing that would make Trump even worse is if he went full extremist social religious conservative.

          The ONLY thing I see that makes Hillary better than Trump is that she hasn’t put forth a foreign policy that is certifiably insane. Donald Trump has advocated for nuclear arms races, selling out our allies over relatively small amounts of money which would hugely damage US influence, abandoning the post WWII framework for peace and stability and engaging in Hoover style trade wars.

  • Be positive about all this, my wife tells me.

    OK, here’s the positive, happy side of a Trump/Clinton race—- that Clinton will most certainly win, but she will cross the finish line completely covered in you know what, rhymes with snit. Fun times are on the way.

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