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‘Highly offensive’: GOP lawmakers distance selves from Trump

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he takes the stage at a campaign rally at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., today.

WASHINGTON >> Dismayed Republicans scrambled for cover tpday from Donald Trump’s inflammatory response to the Orlando massacre, while President Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton delivered fiery denunciations that underscored the potential peril for the GOP.

Republican hopes are fading for a new, “more presidential” Trump as the party’s divisions around him grow ever more acute.

Clinton, campaigning in Pittsburgh, said: “We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations. We need leadership and concrete plans because we are facing a brutal enemy.”

In Washington, Obama said of Muslim-Americans: “Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to discriminate against them because of their faith?” After meeting with counterterrorism officials, a stern-faced Obama said: “We heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that’s not the America we want.”

Several of Trump’s fellow Republicans clearly did not agree with him. They were nearly as unsparing as the Democrats in their criticism of his boundary-pushing response Monday to the killing of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, by an American-born Muslim who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group.

Among other things, Trump suggested moderate Muslims and perhaps even Obama himself might sympathize with radical elements. He renewed his call to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the country, and added a new element: a suspension of immigration from areas of the world with a proven history of terrorism against the U.S. and its allies.

“Mr. Trump seems to be suggesting that the president is one of them, I find that highly offensive, I find that whole line of reasoning way off-base,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “Mr. Trump’s reaction to declare war on the faith is the worst possible solution.”

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said Trump’s comments could be used to radicalize uneducated Muslims.

“I guess I appreciate Mr. Trump’s fieriness in talking about it, and strength, but you don’t do it by alienating the very people we need and those are moderate Muslims,” said Kinzinger. “To use religion as a test, to say we’re going to discriminate against all Muslims, is so counterproductive it really almost doesn’t deserve being talked about.”

Trump responded to Obama’s criticism in a statement accusing the president of continuing “to prioritize our enemy over our allies.” At a fiery rally hours later in Greensboro, North Carolina, Trump said the president appeared angrier at him than he was at the Orlando gunman.

“That’s the kind of anger he should have for the shooter and these killers that shouldn’t be here,” Trump told the crowd, echoing comments he made to a conservative radio host Monday.

Speaking to thousands of supporters for the first time since the attacks, Trump repeated several falsehoods made in his Monday speech. Those included claims that Syrian refugees are admitted into the U.S. without any screening and that neighbors of the perpetrators of December’s shooting in San Bernardino, California, knew about it in advance but said nothing to police.

Trump also boasted about his decision to stop issuing press credentials to The Washington Post, because of a headline he disliked.

“I did it with The Washington Post. I’m so happy,” Trump said. “Where’s The Washington Post? They’re probably somewhere. Maybe they’re in the back, in the back bleachers.”

House Republicans said they would meet with Trump on July 7, but the reactions of lawmakers underscored an atmosphere of anxiety and unease among Capitol Hill Republicans, who hoped to see Trump moderate his impulses in the weeks since clinching the nomination.

Instead, the opposite has occurred as the billionaire businessman has stoked one controversy after another and shows no sign of slowing down.

One senior Senate Republican, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, went so far as to suggest Trump might not end up as the party’s nominee after all.

“We do not have a nominee until after the convention,” Alexander asserted in response to a question. Reminded that Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, Alexander retorted, “That’s what you say.”

Other congressional Republicans claimed, improbably, not to have heard what Trump said. “I just don’t know what he was talking about, I frankly don’t know what you’re talking about. I hadn’t heard it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, in response to a question about Trump’s suggestions about Obama.

As he has in the past, House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced Trump’s plans, saying: “I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test.”

Ryan, who endorsed Trump only recently after a lengthy delay as he grappled with the implications of the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, ignored shouted questions about whether he stood by his support. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would not be commenting Tuesday about Trump.

“I continue to be discouraged by the direction of the campaign and comments that are made,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Monday’s Trump address was not “the type of speech that one would give that wants to lead this country through difficult times.”

For many Republicans the prospect of continually facing questions about Trump was plainly wearing thin.

“I’m just not going to comment on more of his statements. It’s going to be five months of it,” said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Said Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, “What Trump does or says, every time he says something doesn’t mean I have to have an answer for it.”

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  • Politicians will say anything when they think they need cover to protect their seats in Congress, but will quickly change their views when their constituents respond favorable to what Trump says. This is not a reality TV show; it is reality.

  • Predictably, Mr. Trump’s campaign and hopes for living in the White House are collapsing. Mrs. Clinton now has a double digit lead in the most recent national poll.

    Good riddance to a worthless, racist imbecile.

    Looks like Senator Schumer is on his way to being Senate Majority Leader!

    Paul Ryan has turned out to be a pathetic wimp.

  • And where are the swarms of democrats “distancing” themselves from their candidate, a compulsively lying, corrupt incompetent who misled bereaved family members about the cause of death of their loved ones in Libya at. their. funeral?

    Answer: crickets.

    Anything to win. Dissolve our southern border- check. Turn our foreign policy into a PC travesty- check. Cater to the environmental zealots at the expense of working Americans’ livelihoods- check. Congratulations, democrats. Your unity is admirable—amoral, soullessly pragmatic, but, yes, effective.

      • Klastri, my guy Mr. Trump is ahead and gaining support in each and every State. Will be reviewing all the States again following the National Conventions.

        • Now you are just lying. Cite one poll–just one. As each day goes by, he continues to disenfranchise not democrats, but his own party…it’s truly amazing.

          Again stop lying, you are stating personal aspirational wants, not what the facts are…..

        • Jimmy, I wouldn’t worry about these two light weights. The one thing Trump does is he goes non stop on the road. His party is pretty anemic. Like Reince said he is going to win with or without them. I believe him.

      • Don’t have a “guy”, but you evidently have a harridan. After this lady’s election it will be like waking up with last night’s drunken mistake—- 1,460 DAYS IN A ROW!

        • Ok, OK! I’ll look it up for you:

          har·ri·dan
          ˈherəd(ə)n/
          noun
          a strict, bossy, or belligerent old woman.
          “a bullying old harridan”
          synonyms: shrew, termagant, virago, harpy, vixen, nag, hag, crone, dragon, ogress;

        • Klastri, you and boo no doubt belong to the Democratic Party. You cannot accept other people’s point of view and feel superior towards others by calling people ignorant, lying, worthless,
          imbecile, racist, pathetic, wimp. What’s up with the hate?

    • Simply because the republicans cannot get their sorry act together. They have chosen this immature opportunist and racist to be their presidential nominee. What next ? Miss Piggy for Miss America?

        • What a jerk. Over educated clueless one for sure. Not sure how it’s possible but you get more loathsome and ignorant everyday.

        • You started the base comments–pretty easy when the person is not here to defend themselves, huh!? It was meant as a reminder…..

        • Like to dish it out but can’t stand the backfire. Can’t stand the heat get out of the fire.

        • Sarge, I love it. I got your back. I think boo and Klastri are the epitome of the Democratic Party in Hawaii.

        • sarge22 – Yes, and we all know how wrong it is to get a good education. What’s good about getting a great education other than being able to earn a whole lot more money; take better care of family needs; contribute more to society – the list goes on and on. But despite that – yes, I suppose that I’m over educated. Guilty as charged.

          Be thankful that you aren’t burdened in that way. Knowing almost nothing must make life so simple!

  • It’s easer to talk about what Trump is not–ie.

    Not the subject of an FBI criminal investigation.

    Not the author of a foreign policy train wreck.

    Not afraid to call the Islamic radicals who want to kill us “Islamic radicals”.

    Not the recipient of millions in bribes, uh,strike that, speaking fees from the evil 1%.

    Not the glorious beneficiary of tens of millions in foreign contributions to a “foundation” while secretary of state.

    Not the enabling spouse of a serial abuser/harasser of women.

    All tired out, listing what Trump is not. Seems that’s what this election is all about—- what the other isn’t.

    • Winston,
      What about Trump’s 3 divorces, 1 wife accusing him of rape, he claiming that the Orlando gunman was a Afghan immigrant, stating that unlimited Syrian refugees are entering the US, stating that Ted Cruz’s father took part in killing President Kennedy,stating that President Ohbama was not a US citizen, not producing any tax returns, etc. etc. etc.

        • Get ready for a historic loss for Mr. trump. Probably the worst electoral college loss in history. I can’t wait for election night!

        • sarge22, you cannot have it both ways. You say family is off limits yet you support Trump who went after Cruz’s wife implying she is a ugly hag. Yes, someone went after Trump’s wife but it was NOT Trump or his campaign. Trump is short tempered and fly’s off the handle and could find out who actually disparaged his wife and instead immediately focused his amger at Cruz and his wife. Don’t get me wrong I cannot stand Hillary who is a liar, and zero honor and with Obama did not even try to save Americans who beggeg for help in Benghazi and held out for hours before getting overrun and killed by Islamic terrorists. HOWEVER, winning the presdiency is a numbers game Trump does’t even try to hide his racism and arrogance and as a result he will NOT get the majority of the non-Caucasian votes and hence will lose the swing states that will tip election to Hillary. That is arrogance at its worse. I did see the highlights of the most recent Bill O’Reilly interview of Trump and Trump refuses to apologize or retract his attack on the judge in his Trump University lawsuit and calling the Judge a ‘Mexican’ he cannot be fair to Trump. The judge was born in Indiana and is an Amercian and NOT Mexican. I personally hate the idea that Hillary will become the next President of the US but Trump’s extreme arrogance and racism will help insure that the Clintons return to the Whitehouse.

        • Correction: “….Yes someone went after Trump’s wife but is was not CRUZ or his campaign…”

        • Cheryl Mills’ evidence is amazing, full of classic Clintonian evasions. She used the phrase “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall” 189 times. This deserves to be brought to a wider audience–not censored and hidden away. And we now have it on film.
          The email scandal is ready to pop.

      • See, it’s a battle of the least worst. Divorces? Who cares. Accused of something? Well, Innocent til proven guilty. Kooky overstatements? Welcome to the USA. Worried about tax returns? As though the IRS hasn’t become a political tool. Trump is a mess. Just waiting for democrats to admit that Clinton is also.

      • And what about your guy, Obama, saying that he was going to campaign in 57 states? As you no doubt do not know, there are 57 Islamic states. Could it be that Obama simply lost his bearings or was it a more telling slip?

      • A standard nasty debating trick is where you take some specific from the opposition and then overgeneralize or falsely restate it.

        There are multiple examples from presidential debates, but I remember the one where the President accused Romney of being in favor of an Arizona immigrations proposal when he was in fact only in favor of the e-verify part. Having falsely established this, he accused Romney of being in favor of a police officer being allowed to stop his daughters while they were driving in public for no good reason.

        The quote from Trump reads: “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot,” You generalize/restate this to “stating that Ted Cruz’s father took part in killing President Kennedy.”

  • I find it very interesting that the Republican Party is evolving and morphing into a party that is hopelessly drifting away from the basic principles of the party of Lincoln. True republicans are finding themselves in a very similar and troubling situation as fundamental Muslims are. That is how do they reign in and stop the damage that is destroying their party/religion by the radicals who claim to share their beliefs.

    • Mr Trump is doing just fine. The Republican Party will eventually join him in celebrating the victory. Basic principles are no longer in vogue as proven by Obama. He is more upset with Trump then he is with the RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.

  • He may be “offensive” but Clinton is a Socialist that will condinue to take this country down the road to a Muslim take over such as is going on in Europe. The Germans living under the history of Hitler are afraid to be German.

  • I’ve been telling people Trump is being paid to sink the Republican Party. This election has weak candidates . At first I thought maybe 10 million but now I think its much more.

  • We have been getting the same response for years and imagine if during WWII German, Italian and Japanese Americans became radicalized and started attacking fellow Americans? Your loyalty is to your adopted country not your homeland or religion, we do need to be great again. How dare the muslims try to compare themselves to Japanese Americans! Auwe!

    • How to answer this one? Maybe because this great country interred the Japanese Americans who were loyal to their adopted country, not their country of origin, but not the Germans, Italians, etc.

  • Maybe the Republican candidate should be the one endorsed by the San Diego Union Tribune – Ronald Reagan? Are we in for another era of “McCarthyism”?

  • Ah Kids, stop bickering about whose on first – remember Abbot and Costello? What was the outcome of that parody? How did our Presidential Race mimics that famous comedy’s act of these two ……Costello: ” I said I don’t give a darn!” Abbot: ” Oh, that’s our shortstop.”

  • Bernie, stay in it.
    Cheryl Mills’ evidence is amazing, full of classic Clintonian evasions. She used the phrase “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall” 189 times. This deserves to be brought to a wider audience–not censored and hidden away. And we now have it on film.

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