GOP officials are confused about what to do with Trump

Following a bad week of publicity for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, GOP officials across the country have largely waffled in their judgement of the White House contender, most condemning his now infamous lewd off-camera remarks to Access Hollywood correspondent Billy Bush, but not formally pulling their endorsements.

However, according to a survey by USA Today released Tuesday, 87 out of a combined 331 Republican governors and congressmen are not endorsing Donald Trump’s candidacy.  In 2012, by comparison, only four Congressional Republicans failed to endorse GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Despite the large contingency that has chosen to ignore Trump, including well-known Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), all of whom are up for reelection, GOP state and county chairs, along with other activists, are rallying their party’s nominee.

“It just does really all seem manufactured,” Loudoun County, Va., Republican chairman Will Estrada told Politico. “He apologized for what he said on the tape. That’s good enough for me.”

Similarly, Iowa state Republican National Committee member, Tamara Scott, said she’s willing to overlook Trump’s transgressions with women in the face of what she sees as an incompetent Democratic executive branch.

“You have a war breaking out between Obama and Russia, and you’re fussing about somebody’s improper actions with a female?” she said. “I get that that he’s not a Boy Scout. I’m looking for a bulldog.”

Likewise, after what some critics and Republicans judged to be at least an adequate debate performance on Sunday evening in St. Louis, some prominent party members that abandoned Trump after Friday’s Access Hollywood recording surfaced are now walking back their prior denouncements.

On Saturday, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) called for Trump to “step aside” from the presidential race, only to say in a radio interview on KLIN in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday that she will “support the Republican ticket, and it’s a Trump-Pence ticket. . . . To me, it’s not a tough choice.”

Likewise, Republican Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn also on Saturday called for Trump to quit his White House bid. “American cannot have a man who speaks this way about women be the face of our country to the Free World,” he said in a statement.

In a Fox News interview following Trump’s debate performance, Glenn changed his mind, saying that the GOP nominee “did what he absolutely had to do. I think he reset his campaign.”

Since Saturday, Oct. 1, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Trump in national two-way polls from 2.7 points to 6.7 points as of Friday, according to RealClear Politics.

 

[Politico] [USA Today] [Washington Post] [Brian Snyder/Reuters via The Atlantic]