Donald Trump wants reluctant Republican leaders to embrace his presidential campaign – but asserts he doesn't need them to win in November.
In an interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press," the party's presumptive nominee said it would be "nice" if Republicans all got on board in the race to the White House
"We're going to have a great convention and I think we're going to go on to a great victory. It would be nice if the Republicans stuck together," he says in an interview aired Sunday. "I think that I win either way. I can win one way or the other."
"I obviously won the primaries without them," he added. "You know, I'm an outsider and I won the primaries. I do believe that we can win either way, but it would be nice if we stuck together."
On CBS, Trump added a few more thoughts on the subject.
"I think that honestly, they should go about their business and do a wonderful job, work on budgets, get the budgets down, get the military the kind of money they need, lots of other things," Trump told "Face the Nation." "And they shouldn't be talking so much.
"They should go out and do their job, let me do my job. I have tremendous support from both politicians and the people. Tremendous support," he continued. "Unfortunately the media just likes to cover really a small number of people that maybe have something to say. I think they should go about their work. Let me run for president. I think I'm going to do very well."
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both declared their support, but other GOP establishment leaders like former presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush have yet to endorse Trump – and former GOP nominee Mitt Romney and ex-CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden have been stridently critical of Trump.
On Saturday, Trump hit back at forces within his party who may try to stop him from formally capturing the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, calling their reported plans "illegal," and urging a unified effort to win.
"First of all, it’s meaningless. Second of all, it’s illegal. Third of all, you can’t do it," Trump said Saturday at a rally at the Treasure Island casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Later in Phoenix, while continuing a campaign swing through the west, Trump said that talk of a convention challenge was being manufactured by the media, and that the Republican National Committee was behind him "100 percent."
Tensions have flared regularly between Trump and some establishment figures within the party since he became the presumptive nominee in late May. The Washington Post reported on Friday that Trump critics hope to challenge him in Cleveland next month by making changes to rules governing the convention. "Dozens" of Republican delegates were said to be on board.
Should the efforts gain traction, decisions made by the rules committee before Cleveland could have a big impact on how things play out. And on Friday, the RNC named former Representative Enid Mickelsen from Utah to oversee the panel that’s responsible for reviewing and modifying rules for the convention and the party’s operations going forward.
Mickelsen is seen as a potential ally of Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who now makes Utah his primary residence and who’s been the leading anti-Trump forces within the party. Trump, in turn, has called Romney "a choke artist" for losing in 2012, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s convention manager, last week called the former Massachusetts governor a "coward."
"We get almost 14 million votes, we win 36, 37 states — others win none. None. Now people who got none are saying, ‘Maybe we can get something at the convention,’ "a fired-up Trump said in Las Vegas. "It doesn’t work that way, folks."
Trump said former Florida governor Jeb Bush, one of the more than a dozen Republicans vanquished during the party’s primary elections, may be among those attempting to undermine him. "Jeb is working on the movement, just so you understand," he said in Las Vegas.
Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell responded on Twitter that "Donald Trump’s unending obsession with @JebBush is really unhealthy."
Some Republicans are anxious about the impact on November’s congressional races and other electoral contests of having Trump as the party’s standard-bearer, suggesting certain potential donors could hold back.
"You know, I’m an outsider and I won the primaries," Trump, 70, said in an interview that will air on NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday, according to a partial transcript provided by the network. "We can win either way, but it would be nice if we stuck together."
In Las Vegas, Trump said he had raised $12 million to $13 million for the RNC in the past two days alone, and that if Republicans "don’t want to help out as much, I’ll fund my own campaign."
Polling this week showed Trump’s negative ratings, already high, spiked again after briefly tapering off in May. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on June 15 found that 70 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably, up 10 points on the month. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable rating also rose, to 55 percent from 53 percent.
Even so, Trump predicted success with groups including women and Latinos. Jan Brewer, the former Arizona governor who has endorsed Trump, was at Saturday’s event in Phoenix.
"Look at all these women for Trump," he said at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at the the Arizona State Fairgrounds. The crowd filled about one-third of the arena, which can seat almost 15,000, on a day when the outside temperatures reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) and a heat warning was in effect.
"We are going to do unbelievably well with the Mexicans, with the Hispanics, with the Latinos," Trump added. "It’s been a movement. I’ve been on the cover of Time magazine so many times, I feel like a super-model."
Material from Bloomberg News was used in this story.
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