Trying to purge GOP doubters might doom his candidacy.
The week that Donald Trump all but wrapped up the Republican nomination for President should have been a time of reaching out to adversaries and trying to repair his party’s breach. Instead the New Yorker has launched what appears to be an attempt to purge anyone who won’t immediately sign onto what he calls “the Trump train.”
Mr. Trump’s threats against GOP doubters escalated over the weekend, especially against House Speaker Paul Ryan for saying on Thursday he wasn’t yet ready to endorse the businessman. The two men are set to meet in Washington on Thursday. But in the meantime Mr. Trump is resorting to political threats to force Mr. Ryan to bend to his will.
On Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Mr. Trump suggested he might try to strip the Speaker of his role as chairman of the GOP convention in Cleveland in July unless Mr. Ryan endorses him. “I will give you a very solid answer, if that happens, about one minute after that happens, OK?” Mr. Trump said. “But there’s no reason to give it right now, but I’ll be very quick with the answer.”
The Trump camp also unleashed Sarah Palin to announce on CNN that Mr. Ryan’s career is probably “over” and she will lead an effort to defeat him in his Republican primary in Wisconsin later this year.
“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” said Mrs. Palin, who endorsed Mr. Trump in Iowa before he lost to Ted Cruz. Mr. Cantor, the former House Majority Leader, lost his Virginia primary in 2014. Mrs. Palin resides in her own private Idaho, but her threats echo those from other Trump advocates.
Mr. Trump keeps saying he can win states like Wisconsin, and apparently he thinks the way to do it is by purging the Ryan wing of the GOP from the new Trump Party. “Paul Ryan said that I inherited something very special, the Republican Party. Wrong, I didn’t inherit it, I won it with millions of voters!” Mr. Trump tweeted on May 6.
But the Republican Party is not one of his golf courses for which he can determine who has what tee times. A political party is an alliance of people who share enough principles to unite to win elections and run the government. They can’t be ordered around by Don Corleone-style threats. They have to be persuaded and mobilized. Are Mr. Trump and his campaign going to require loyalty oaths of every Republican officeholder who wants to attend the convention?Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.
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