Al Angrisani, former United States Assistant Secretary of Labor for President Ronald Reagan, says Donald Trump and the Republican Party have to pull themselves out of the "delusion" their current tactics will defeat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.
But he said all hope is not lost. Trump can still win the presidency if he takes a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook and "wins the hearts and minds" of the American public.
"There is deep delusion in the Republican Party," said Angrisani, founder and CEO of Angrisani Turnarounds, LLC and TurnVest Investment Partners.
"I'm in the turnaround business and work with distressed companies. The one reason companies make the same mistake over and over again and believing, until they go into bankruptcy, is the word delusion," he explained to CNBC.
Angrisani also authored a recent commentary entitled: "Mr. Trump, Time to Step Aside."
"But my advice is stop being delusional, look at the facts. I wrote that op-ed because no one will push Mr. Trump off the ticket. I figured maybe if somebody asked nicely, he would listen. Because he's a winner. And winners don't lose for the sake of losing. I'm hoping he makes a candid assessment before Labor Day, before it's too late whether or not he can do what's right for my children and grandchildren as well as his own."
He is urging Trump to change his strategy and tactics or step aside "because it's the right thing to do," he explained.
"The stakes are very high. The Supreme Court, the United States Senate, four more years of Hillary Clinton with a Bernie Sanders' influence will drift us closer to socialism, not the free enterprise capitalist society our founding fathers wanted."
He said Trump "needs to step up and do the right thing and say, if I can win I'm going to go forward. If I can't I'm going to let somebody else have a chance to do this."
He said Trump's most serious problems started after the GOP convention ended and "once the country moved away from the issues to the person, they didn't like the person."
Angrisani urged Trump to focus on the actual issues and not get pulled into sideshow distractions.
"If he goes back to policy, he has the issues. I was a supporter of him during the primary, globalization, trade, immigration, it's a 'change' election. He was in the right place at the right time. But somehow he made it about himself instead of the issues and that's where everything went wrong," he said.
Angrisani said he considers Trump "a brilliant man, a winner" and he's not out to bash him.
"I have the utmost respect for him, but he is not a politician and that's what it takes to win elections, a politician. He has not made the transition from hard-nosed, successful businessman to winning hearts and minds like Ronald Reagan did," he said. "Ronald Reagan was down in the polls big time as well, but Ronald Reagan was a likable guy, and what did he do? He won hearts and minds. Today, he's one of the most popular presidents we've had. If I could give Mr. Trump one piece of advice as a fan, 'start winning hearts and minds.'
"If he started to apologize, and show maybe perhaps the kinder, gentler side of himself, people would resonate to that quickly. I think that is the right path."
Regardless, Angrisani vowed to never back Hillary Clinton.
"I will say unequivocally I will not vote for Hillary Clinton," he said. "If Donald Trump is the candidate standing at the end of the day, I will vote for him for what I said before: free enterprise, capitalist society, Hillary Clinton's strong Sanders influence, trend to socialism.
"I will go with Mr. Trump, but I do think that it's a long shot right now."
Meanwhile, one of the world's most respected investors says it actually won't matter in the long run who wins the White House.
Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has said a Trump presidency wouldn't be the blow to U.S. business that some fear, Bloomberg reported.
"If either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president, and one of them is very likely to be, I think Berkshire will continue to do fine," Buffett, 85, said at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
The outcome of November's presidential election is unlikely to change the fact the U.S. is a "remarkably attractive place in which to conduct a business," said Buffett, who endorsed Democrat Clinton at an Omaha rally in December.
U.S. companies have enjoyed "terrific" returns on equity despite a sustained period of ultra-low interest rates, he added. Buffett, who has criticized Trump in the past and scorned politicians' pessimism about the country, looked past the current voter angst for a longer view of U.S. economic prospects.
"Twenty years from now, there'll be far more output per capita in the United States in real terms than there is now. In 50 years, it'll be far more," Buffett said. "No presidential candidate or president is going to end that. They can shape it in ways that are good or bad, but they can't end it."
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report.)
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