The Republican National Committee is weighing its options in the event Donald Trump drops out of the presidential race, ABC News' Jonathan Karl reported Wednesday.
"I am told senior officials at the party are actively exploring what would happen if Trump dropped out, how to replace him on the ballot," Karl said on "Good Morning America."
"The answer is they can't force him out. He would have to go out voluntarily then it would be the 168 members of the RNC through a complicated process that would pick a new candidate. It would have to happen by early September."
"This is absolutely unprecedented," Karl said. "I am told that RNC chairman Reince Priebus is furious — he has had multiple discussions with Trump telling him he needs to drastically change course. "
The RNC’s worries about Trump come after he continued to pummel the parents of the late Capt. Humayun Khan in media appearances. Khan, a naturalized citizen and a Muslim, died in 2004 during combat operations in Iraq.
Veterans groups, including the VFW and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), have sharply rebuked Trump for continuing to criticize Khan’s Gold Star parents.
"Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression," Brian Duffy, leader of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in a statement Monday.
The VVA called Trump’s continuing barrage against the Khans "disgraceful and un-American."
Another major veterans group, the American Legion, has declined to weigh in on the controversy. "We are nonpartisan," a Legion spokesman said.
Trump’s support among key Republican leaders across the nation is eroding.
NBC News reported that Priebus is "apoplectic" over Trump's comments Tuesday that he is not endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain in their re-election efforts. Both Ryan and McCain have endorsed Trump in his presidential bid.
According to NBC News, Priebus called Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort indicating his "extreme displeasure" with Trump.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" reported Wednesday that key Trump campaign staffers are "checking out" as the campaign flounders over the continuing controversy of Trump’s Khan comments.
Regardless, though the prospect of Trump dropping out may be farfetched, the RNC is preparing for all options given Trump's unpredictability quotient.
"He is so unpredictable right now," Karl said on GMA. "They are so unable to control his message that they just don't know and clearly think it is a possibility which is why they're looking at these rules."
But at the heart of it is a Republican party that has a winnable election, given that Hillary Clinton is a wounded candidate from the fallout of an FBI investigation into her private email server.
"The frustration is especially deep because they believe that Hillary Clinton looks vulnerable," Karl said. "One top official told me if Trump had gone on vacation for the past two weeks, he would be in the lead."
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