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GOP Leaders Split on Possible Trump Nomination

Image: GOP Leaders Split on Possible Trump Nomination
Donald Trump (Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 01:03 PM

The expected rock-solid support from GOP leaders for the party's standard-bearer in the 2016 White House race is showing some cracks as front-runner Donald Trump closes in on the nomination.

Nebraska conservative freshman Sen. Ben Sasse is the most prominent elected GOP leader to declare he won't vote for the real estate billionaire if he becomes the presidential nominee, but he's not alone.

In a post on the Wall Street Journal Monday, former Republican National Committee chairman Mel Martinez said he won't be casting a ballot for Trump either.

"I would not vote for Trump, clearly" Martinez, who also served one term as U.S. senator from Florida, tells the Journal. "If there is any, any, any other choice, a living, breathing person with a pulse, I would be there."

Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, tells the Journal Trump's thumbs-up to Mussolini rhetoric pushed him into the #NeverTrump camp.

"When you've got a guy favorably quoting Mussolini, I don't care what party you're in, I'm not voting for that guy," he tells the Journal. "Donald Trump, it's like he's trying to make it difficult for anyone…to support him."

Ken Mehlman, who headed the RNC during the George W. Bush administration and ran Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, tweeted that his no-Trump-vote position stemmed from the ambiguous position Trump took in a CNN interview about Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.


Trump subsequently declared he had renounced Duke's support.

Former Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady, currently backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich's underdog campaign, tells the Journal he'll support a third-party candidate or "just stay home" if Trump winds up with the nomination.

Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo agrees; the Journal reports Curbelo has remarked that Trump reminds him of Hugo Chavez, the former president of Venezuela.

"The party may blow up," Curbelo tells the Journal. "You're going to lose the four in 10 who say they'll never vote for him. It would be tough to support at the national level a Republican Party that has Donald Trump as its leader."

Former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, who in 1994 became the first African-American Republican in Congress from the South since Reconstruction, also declares he'll write in his own choice for president rather than pull the lever for Trump.

"It's going to be a tremendous setback for the party if he wins," Watts tells the Journal. "All these guys who are beating him up now, if he asks them to be his running mate, they'll jump in in a New York minute."

And Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks tells MSNBC he won't vote for Trump because of his personal life, Mediaite reports.

"I don't support people who support adultery," Brooks tells MSNBC, Mediate reports. "And I don't trust people who are serial adulterers, as Donald Trump has been and bragged about in writing, because I don't think that's an honorable thing or trait in a person."

Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman also has announced she'll not vote for Trump — and vows to go so far as to jump the party ship and cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton, should she go on to win the Democratic nomination.

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The expected rock-solid support from GOP leaders for the party's standard-bearer in the 2016 White House race is showing some cracks as front-runner Donald Trump closes in on the nomination.
gop, republicans, leaders, split, trump, nomination
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2016-03-01
Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 01:03 PM
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