National Review columnist David French
, who pulled out of a potential third-party bid for the presidency Sunday night, said Tuesday that a person claiming to be affiliated with Donald Trump's campaign contacted his wife's family in a "ham-handed effort to intimidate me" after news broke of his potential candidacy.
"An individual called and said ''I'm sorry but I've been asked by the Trump campaign to make sure that David knows this will be really bad for him,'" French told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, explaining that he learned about the call after he decided not to run for office.
Further, the constitutional lawyer and columnist told the program, his multi-racial family has faced threats from Trump supporters because of his articles about the presumptive GOP nominee.
Those threats came even before Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, who has been pushing hard for a third-party candidate to go up against Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton,
announced his name as a candidate.
"The assaults on my family have been overwhelming, just as a writer," French told the program. "As everyone knows, Trump has an online racist mob that he often stokes by retweeting some of these horrible white supremacists. That online mob is fond of pointing out that I have a multiracial family and they have gone after my daughter in the worst way imaginable."
French continued that his neighbors were also nervous there were going to be attacks in their neighborhood, even before he considered a run for the presidency.
"He unlocked something terrible in this country," French told the program. "It's one of the reasons I was so motivated to look at this."
French said the person who called a member of his wife's family in Tennessee "identified themselves as someone affiliated with the Trump campaign who had been told to call, you know, a member -- they tracked down a member of my wife's family in Tennessee."
And even though French has pulled his name out of consideration, he still thinks there's a "hunger out there" for an alternative candidate," and a path that is "absolutely wide open."
That candidate would need to come "from the center right," said French, as there is an establishment group of party voters who don't want Trump. Also, there is a "constitutional Tea Party wing. I think they're willing to put aside the differences and say Trump is a threat to the party of Lincoln."
And when it comes to party leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan supporting Trump, French said "nothing shocks me" at this point. However, he said he was "profoundly disappointed" as "Paul Ryan is a good man."
Ryan's endorsement came just after Trump's comments on the Mexican heritage of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the Indiana-born judge presiding over a lawsuit filed against the candidate over his defunct Trump University.
French, though, called Curiel an "American hero" who had fought as a prosecutor against Mexican drug cartels.
He does think that Americans will have a breaking point when it comes to Trump, as he has had.
"I did a humbling thing a couple of months ago," said French. "I looked at what I wrote about Donald Trump in August of last year, and I wasn't for him by any stretch. But I wasn't taking it seriously."
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