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Trump Appointments Whip Up Dissent

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Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey, R-N.H., who has complained about what he calls strong-arm tactics used to award GOP National Convention committee posts from New Hampshire to Trump supporters. (Jime Cole/AP)

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Monday, 09 May 2016 12:58 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Backers of Donald Trump are blasting prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and both President George Bushes, for refusing to endorse Trump.

But Team Trump was denounced this weekend by one of New Hampshire’s best-known conservatives for denying delegates who supported candidates other than Trump assignments on key committees at the Republican National Convention this July.

“[Trump campaign manager] Corey Lewandowski used strong-arm tactics to award six of eight committee posts from New Hampshire to Trump supporters,” former Sen. Gordon Humphrey, R-N.H., told me on Saturday, “shoving aside the delegates who represent the two-thirds of primary voters who didn’t vote for Donald Trump. It’s not my definition of a ‘healing process.’”

But others in the Granite State GOP say Humphrey (who announced Friday he won’t support Trump) is simply demonstrating “sour grapes” and that, given the opportunity, the non-Trump forces would have given committee assignments exclusively to their people.

One of John Kasich’s best-known backers, Humphrey, 75, is also an iconic figure in the modern conservative movement. A U.S. Air Force veteran and airline pilot, he came out of nowhere in 1978 to become one of the first of the so-called “new right” senators who went on to play supporting roles with Ronald Reagan in making the Republican Party conservative.

With the fervent backing of national conservative groups, Humphrey defeated two established office-holders to secure the GOP Senate nod in 1978 and, later that year, unseated three-term Democratic Sen. Thomas J. McIntyre. True to his word to limit himself to two terms, Humphrey stepped down in 1990.

Humphrey specifically referred to a meeting of New Hampshire’s 23 convention delegates at state party headquarters in Concord on Friday morning, May 6, at 10:00 a.m. During the meeting presided over by state party Chairman Jennifer Horn, Humphrey called in from the West Coast.

“Corey presented his choices of committee assignments as ‘fait accompli,’” said Humphrey. He pointed out that Trumpman Steve Stepanek got a slot on the Platform Committee, that Trump supporters Fred Doucette and Paula Johnson were assigned both New Hampshire slots on the Committee on Permanent Organization, Trump delegate Ellen Suprunowicz was slated for the Rules Committee, and Trump people Al and Judy Baldasaro got the two New Hampshire slots on the Credentials Committee.

Only two backers of other presidential candidates, Humphrey noted, got any committee assignments: GOP National Committeeman Steve Duprey, a Kasich man, for Rules and Cruz backer Juliana Bergeron was assigned to Platform.

Several delegates who had backed candidates other than Trump did not attend the meeting. Humphrey did weigh in strongly against what he called “the lack of fairness and proportionality.” The former senator then abstained on the vote accepting the committee assignments.

When reached by the Manchester Union Leader later in the day, Humphrey said he would “unequivocally” not support Trump in November and called the almost-sure GOP nominee a “sociopath."

There were second opinions of the meeting and the controversial committee assignments. A former state party chairman who requested anonymity told me “The original committee assignments, which Gordon voted for through email, gave nothing to the Trump delegates. The Trump folks complained and demanded a face- to- face meeting. They were far more generous than Chairman Horn and the non-Trump delegates were to them.

“At least they gave two committee assignments to non-Trump delegates.”

Acknowledging the present situation is not helpful in uniting the state Republican Party, the same source nevertheless concluded: “There is plenty of blame to go around, but I think most of this is sour grapes. Gordon is a Kasich delegate and they were all hoping Kasich would be the compromise choice at a brokered convention, even though he only carried one state, his own.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Team Trump was denounced this weekend by one of New Hampshire’s best-known conservatives for denying delegates who supported candidates other than Trump assignments on key committees at the Republican National Convention this July.
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Monday, 09 May 2016 12:58 PM
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