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GOP Leaders: Don't Block Trump

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Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 08:49 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Anti-Trump fervor has reached a fever pitch lately, but many GOP leaders are standing by the nomination process and bristle at those who would not support the nominee.

Donald Trump coasted to a big win in the Arizona primary Tuesday and added all of its 58 delegates to his column.

Just as Trump was coming closer to the nomination, Republican Party leaders — several of whom will be leading their state’s delegations to the party’s national convention in July — made clear to me they wanted no part of the movement by some conservatives to thwart GOP front-runner Trump.

Trump now has 723 delegates of the 1,237 needed for the nomination, compared to 478 for Ted Cruz (who won all 40 of Utah’s delegates following party caucuses on Tuesday) and 143 for John Kasich.

On April 5, Wisconsin will choose 42 delegates and on April 19, Trump’s home state of New York will select 95.

Several polls have shown Trump leading in Wisconsin with the strong blue-collar support that fueled his big win in the Michigan primary earlier this month.

On April 26, five states in which Trump either has a strong following or where polls show him leading will choose roughly 150 delegates: Connecticut (28 delegates), Delaware (16), Maryland (38), Pennsylvania (71), and Rhode Island (19).

Amid recent meetings among some conservatives to discuss how to keep Trump from being nominated at the party convention in Cleveland, I asked several GOP leaders what they thought of this “stop Trump” movement.

“As an RNC Member I have no issue with any group of delegates trying to stop or support any particular candidate at the upcoming convention,” California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel told me. “Whoever gets 1,237 [delegates] will be our nominee.”

Steel, a former state party chairman in the Golden State, stressed that “our nominee will go on to be president against a corrupt diabolical Clinton machine.

“The great fact is that to get the 1,237 everyone has to follow the rules. If some conservatives believe there was such an existential threat with Mr. Trump they should have thought of that a couple of months ago.”

Steel, who started in politics as a Republican in 1964, painted over a street sign in Los Angeles that said “Coldwater Canyon” to make it “Goldwater Canyon” to support then-GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

Michigan State Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel was even more direct in dismissing the late-blooming effort against Trump.

“"If Donald Trump gets the 1,237 delegates to win the nomination, I hope that all Republicans will get behind him,” said Romney, niece of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, “I will be supporting our nominee.”

Like Steel, Romney emphasized that Republicans “cannot let Hillary Clinton become president of the United States.”

“Let me do you one better,” Edward F. Cox, New York State Republican chairman told me.

Cox cited his father-in-law Richard M. Nixon, recalling that “when it came to ‘stop X’ movements, [Nixon’s] general comment was: ‘If there’s a movement to stop X from winning an office, X will win that office.”

Cox, McDaniel, and Steel are all publicly neutral in the Republican presidential battle.

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





 

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Many GOP leaders are standing by the nomination process and bristle at those who would not support the nominee.
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Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 08:49 AM
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