DONALD TRUMP HAS insisted there is great unity in his presidential campaign, following a series of high-profile controversies and senior Republican figures emerging to say they don’t support him.
Trump tweeted yesterday that the unity in his campaign was “perhaps greater than ever before”.
He also told voters at a Daytona Beach, Florida rally that his campaign has “never been so well united”.
Internal party turmoil over Donald Trump spilled into public alarm yesterday after unprecedented self-inflicted mistakes by the Republican nominee.
Some conservatives are now prepared to do the unthinkable: vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
A nightmare 48 hours for the embattled Republican flagbearer – he deepened his public feud with the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier, refused to back House Speaker Paul Ryan’s re-election bid and used crass language while accepting a supporter’s Purple Heart as a gift – has highlighted Republicans’ concerns.
Trump allies openly upbraided their candidate yesterday for his inability to stay on message, demanding more self-discipline by the political neophyte.
“He has not made the transition to being the potential president of the United States,” former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a loyal Trump defender, told Fox Business Network.
Meanwhile, a Fox News poll showed Clinton with a 10 point lead over Trump, at 49 to 39%. Just a month ago that figure stood at six points, Fox News said.
Flocking to Clinton
Prominent tech executive Meg Whitman became the latest high-profile conservative to throw her support behind the former secretary of state, saying in a statement yesterday that “Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character”.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus backs Trump, but on Wednesday Priebus was being described as “incredibly upset” that the New York real estate mogul refused to endorse Ryan’s congressional re-election campaign.
Trump’s running mate Mike Pence sought to assuage concerns, but yesterday’s endorsement of Ryan for re-election suggested he and Trump were not on the same page.
Richard Armitage, who served as deputy secretary of state for George W Bush and deputy secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, defected to the Clinton camp in June.
Brent Scowcroft, respected national security advisor to two Republican presidents, endorsed Clinton, as did former Republican senator Larry Pressler of South Dakota, who cited Clinton’s support for stricter gun laws.
Bush Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, announced in a Washington Post column that he will vote for Clinton in the hope she can “do the things necessary to strengthen our economy”.
Other Republican stalwarts, while stopping short of endorsing Clinton, are shunning Trump or the party itself.
Top Jeb Bush advisor Sally Bradshaw said she is leaving the Republican Party to become an independent.
And House Republican Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a US Air Force veteran, told CNN he woke up on Wednesday realising that Trump has “crossed so many red lines” that he can no longer support the nominee, “no matter what the political cost to me”.
However, Clint Eastwood in an interview in Esquire magazine praised the Republican presidential candidate for being “on to something”.
“Everybody’s walking on eggshells,” said Eastwood.
We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.
With reporting from AP and Cormac Fitzgerald