WASHINGTON, June 11, 2016 — Several key Donald Trump allies spoke out last week against the GOP candidate for president. Trump came under fire for making comments against a judge who is overseeing a case involving Trump University, arguing that Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t judge a case against him fairly due to his ethnicity. Many considered his comments to be racist.
Newt Gingrich, on many conservative lists as a VP possibility, said those comments, were “inexcusable.” While he was critical of them, he refused to call those remarks racist. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently endorsed Trump, but but he also distanced himself from Trump’s remarks.
Ryan was besieged with questions about Trump at a press event to roll out the House GOP economic agenda. He replied, “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.” The speaker did defend his support of the billionaire businessman, pointing out that he has more common ground on policy with Trump than with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump ally Dr. Ben Carson says that Trump privately admitted that his attack on the judge was wrong. “He fully recognizes that that was not the right thing to say,” Carson said in an interview, noting he heard Trump say so himself during a private meeting this week at Trump Tower. Carson, who claims that the comments are not racist, is urging Republicans uneasy about Trump to unite behind him because there is no other alternative.
Decisions by prominent Republicans to publicly condemn Trump’s comments suggest possible differences in ideology and politics between Trump and his close associates. Republican politicians undoubtedly want to protect themselves from any heat from their constituents.
If Trump doesn’t control his angry rhetoric, he will lose more than the support of men like Paul Ryan and Republican Senators who many angry conservatives consider only marginally Republican and expendable. He risks losing support from minorities as well as alienating mainstream Republican voters who are still uneasy about a Trump presidency.
Some conservatives may feel well rid of Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Paul Ryan and other “RINOs” (Republicans in name only), but Trump can’t afford to be rid of Republican and independent voters who feel the same way. It’s time for Trump to stop throwing bombs and build a few bridges.