Republican Leaders Recognize Damage Trump is Doing

The Republican party leadership is quickly figuring out that Donald Trump is an albatross around their neck and is doing enormous damage to their ability to attract Latino voters, the second-largest voting demographic in the country. So much so that Reince Priebus called The Donald to ask him to tone it down.

The head of the Republican National Committee, responding to demands from increasingly worried party leaders, spent nearly an hour Wednesday on the phone with Donald Trump, urging the presidential candidate to tone down his inflammatory comments about immigration that have infuriated a key election constituency.

The call from Chairman Reince Priebus, described by donors and consultants briefed on the conversation and confirmed by the RNC, underscores the extent to which Trump has gone from an embarrassment to a cause for serious alarm among top Republicans in Washington and nationwide.

But there is little they can do about the mogul and reality-television star, who draws sustenance from controversy and attention. And some fear that, with assistance from Democrats, Trump could become the face of the GOP.

Rather than backing down from his comments about illegal immigrants — whom he characterized as rapists and killers, among other things — Trump has amplified his remarks at every opportunity, including in a round of interviews Wednesday…

“I think he’ll self-destruct relatively quickly. The dynamic, I think, will change very dramatically, and Trump will be yesterday’s news,” said former senator Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah). “But if this does have legs, if Trump can keep this going, it will be very worrisome.”

There are two real problems for the GOP here. First, Trump will never tone it down. He lives for this. He couldn’t possibly care any less about helping or hurting the Republican party, the only thing he cares about is getting attention to himself. It’s his ego that is running for president and he’ll turn this plea for reasonableness into another marketing pitch for his candidacy: “See, the Republican party doesn’t want me talking about this stuff. They’re threatened by me.”

Second, it doesn’t really matter what happens to his poll numbers (and they will crash once the campaign gets going — he’s a novelty candidate with huge name recognition and that is the sole reason why he’s surging in the polls, which are totally meaningless at this point). And it doesn’t matter if big donors shut him out. He doesn’t need their money. He’s in this for his ego and I bet he’ll stay in it to the bitter end. And the more the GOP complains about him, the more he’ll turn up the volume. And I think that’s just delightful.

And predictably, Trump is spinning this all into an homage to his ego. He says Priebus didn’t ask him to tone down his anti-Latino rhetoric, but called to praise him!

Yeah, he called me to tell me that I’m the greatest candidate he’s ever seen and probably the finest human being in the history of the United States. I corrected him and told him that I’m the finest human being that has ever existed in the entire history of the world.

Rage on, Scrooge McDick. Keep those hits coming.

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  • marcus

    “I think fucking hope with my entire being that he’ll self-destruct relatively quickly.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Trump could become the face of the GOP.

    Why not? He’s already their id.

  • carpenterman

    I wonder if Trump will be the Republicans’ version of “Ralph Nader in 2000”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shrike1978 shrike1978

    Scrooge McDick. That’s beautiful. I’m stealing that.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The head of the Republican National Committee…

    You mean the same office that didn’t even have enough power or authority to criticize Rush Limbaugh? I’m almost hoping Trump will give that fool the same smackdown his predecessor in that oh-so-prestigious job got from Rushbo.

    And with a name like Rinse Previous or whatever the fuck it is, I’d be very surprised if he commanded any respect from Trump. People like Trump give wedgies to people with posh wimpy-sounding names like Rinse Previous. The Donald would never submit to The Reince Cycle.

  • busterggi

    “There are two real problems for the GOP here.’

    no, there’s a third – Trump represents what most of their core voters believe.

  • John Pieret

    A small part of me hopes that he wins the Republican nomination just to see what Hillary would do to him in the debates.*

    __________________________________

    * Yeah, I’m still betting on Hillary winning the nomination.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Too crazy for the Republican Party. Just think about what that means, what with Scott ‘Dead Eyes’ Walker, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, et al. Trump stands out against that crazy quilt of a background. Quite an accomplishment.

  • raven

    LOL.

    What if Trump actually becomes one of their leading candidates.

    He is already on top of their polls.

    It’s not impossible. One of the main drivers of the GOP is the fear of the coming nonwhite majority. Four states already are, including the two largest in population, Texas and California. It’s projected for 2043.

    Surveys show whites are afraid that nonwhites will treat them…like they have been treated.

  • eric

    With fourteen declared candidates, I don’t see how the GOP is going to manage a debate between them. Maybe the national party will decide to divide the field into two groups…in which case, I nominate Donald as pilot of the “B Ark” debate group.

  • blf

    There was a rather amusing opinion piece in the INYT (ex-IHT) about two days ago, President Donald Trump? Just Say No. It was written by Peter Wehner, who is a fairly notorious thug liar and loon, so much so that he worked in both the Bush I and Cheney / Bush ][ kleptothuggeries.

    What made it quite funny was his opening argument:

    For starters, Mr. Trump, though he claims to be a conservative, is nothing of the sort. He’s barely even a Republican. For most of the last decade, he was a registered Democrat. It wasn’t that long ago that most of his political contributions went to Democrats, including Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. Before he discovered his Republican roots, Mr. Trump favored a single-payer health care system and proposed a large “net worth tax” on wealthy individuals. He once declared himself “strongly pro-choice” and favored drug legalization. He is a vehement protectionist. Earlier this year he even accused Republicans running for president of “attacking” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Why would conservatives find him the least bit appealing?

    No true Scotsmanthug! And, assuming some of those claims are true, it also seems to illustrate just how out-of-touch Teh Donald and the other thugs (including Mr Wehner) are with reality.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    I love Trump. The GOP is getting the Republican treatment from one of their own. Usually the pro-GOP groups spoil the commons for their own selfish benefit (pump this crap into the air, dump this crap into the water, deregulate this, make tons of money…the middle class and poor will bear the costs).

    Now, Trump is spoiling the GOP presidential race for his own selfish gains. The less wealthy candidates that remain after Trump is out can bear the costs. (“Fuck you, I got mine!”) Awesome.

  • blf

    eric@10, As I understand it, the current plan is only the “top ten” klowns will be in the debates, as measured by some (probably “unskewed”) poll, or amount of funds raisedbribes paid, or somesuch…

    The, ah, “problem”, with a B Ark group is they all belong there.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Yeah, he called me to tell me that I’m the greatest candidate he’s ever seen and probably the finest human being in the history of the United States. I corrected him and told him that I’m the finest human being that has ever existed in the entire history of the world.

    He’s a Republican and an American. Isn’t “the United States” and “the world” one and the same to him?

    (Seriously, the fact that you guys call the MLB, NBA, and NFL winners “world champions” is endlessly entertaining (though maybe having a single Canadian team in two of those leagues technically makes them international).)

  • eric

    @13: that’s interesting, given how the top spot in the 2012 campaign seemed to rotate over time. The Donald might actually have a chance to get in if they make that decision early enough.

    Though like you, I’m cynical enough that I expect the RNC will likely first pick who they want in the debate, then post-hoc choose whatever polls or system they need to to justify that selection.

  • dingojack

    And here’s another perspective on the Donster’s chances.

    Dingo

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    I suspect that telling Trump to behave himself is like waving the proverbial red cape in front of a bull.

    The Republican party keeps missing an important lesson: You can climb onto the back of the tiger. You will look strong and powerful while you’re there. Getting off is another problem entirely. In this case the tiger is the horrific streak of nativism in a big chunk of the American populace. It may be enough to win a primary, but it’s a much harder sell in a general election.

  • http://healthvsmedicine.blogspot.com cervantes

    He’s a millstone around their necks. An albatross round the neck, metaphorically, refers to a psychological burden, not a practical problem.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The call from Chairman Reince Priebus, described by donors and consultants briefed on the conversation and confirmed by the RNC, underscores the extent to which Trump has gone from an embarrassment to a cause for serious alarm among top Republicans in Washington and nationwide.

    Utter bullshit. The fact that the call came from a nonentity in an office that couldn’t even talk down a radio-bloviator, let alone an actual candidate, underscores that the Republicans either aren’t really all that alarmed, or don’t have the guts to take any more serious action.

    I’ll take Republicans’ “concern” or “alarm” seriously when a REAL leader, like maybe John Boehnor, steps up to express it. Who knows, maybe he’ll be too busy dodging the Confederate-flag controversy to be able to dodge Trump too.

  • eric

    @18: I think its fair to say that The Donald will bring the GOP all sorts of bad luck as well as wrath from pissed-off entities (in this case, voters rather than spirits). “Day after day, day after day/We stuck, nor breath nor motion/As idle as a painted ship/Upon a painted ocean” seems to be a pretty apt description of the GOP primary race at this point. Foundering on gay rights, among other things.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    Tone it down? Really. So they think it is good to say, you mind being a little bit quieter racist, instead of, oh I don’t know, how about, ‘Donald, stop being so fucking racist and shut the hell up.’

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    Best thing is that The Donald isn’t running for president. When he handed in his paper work, he only handed in a partial financial disclosure. He has 90 days to release a full disclosure, and do you think The Donald is going to do that? He’ll be out in early September.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    He says Priebus didn’t ask him to tone down his anti-Latino rhetoric, but called to praise him!

    I think Trump is to the point where he simply can’t hear anything but praise. His brain isn’t tuned to understand anything that’s not fawning sycophancy.

  • D. C. Sessions

    One wonders to what extent Priebus and the RNC are worried not by Turmp-the-candidate but by Trump-the-agenda-setter.

    Because now Ted Cruz is signing on with the latter.

  • The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    If Trump doesn’t get the GOP nomination, which he probably won’t, I guarn-damn-tee you he’s gonna Perot up the detail. It’s going to be glorious. Clinton/Bush/Trump 60/30/10? We can only hope!

  • Parse

    I’m guessing that most of the Republicans running were overjoyed when Trump announced he was running, as he’d act as somebody to pound the Overton window to the right, so the resulting nominee could sell themselves as a ‘moderate’.

    I’m also guessing that they’re now equally terrified that he’s actually getting support from the Republican base, and they’ll have to dip (further) into his fetid swamp of non-dog-whistled racism to actually win the primary.

  • DataWrangler

    I have a perverse hope that Trump is actually engaged in the greatest practical Poe history will ever record.

  • Taz

    Trump may have stepped in it this time. He’s making himself toxic in the corporate world, which is a constituency he actually cares about.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1383910591939350/ Marissa van Eck

    Oh I hope so. I want to see this fat windbag suffer and lose it all. Would be justice if he died poor and sick and alone on the street.

  • =8)-DX

    So in a Trump-Sanders election, there will be either way many a guffaw from our side of the pond! Yeah but were getting ready for Hillaryty and sending Merkel over..

  • Who Cares

    @Holytape(#22):

    Best thing is that The Donald isn’t running for president. When he handed in his paper work, he only handed in a partial financial disclosure. He has 90 days to release a full disclosure, and do you think The Donald is going to do that? He’ll be out in early September.

    It is 30 days + 2 extensions of 45 days and he doesn’t have that much time.

    Fox news think they have figured out a way to get him of stage. That is the require all candidates to have filled out all the paper work including the complete financial disclosure before handing. Seems they are betting on that Trump doesn’t want to do that. The collateral damage of a few other candidates that might have an actual chance at becoming the GOP nominee is acceptable, several have filed for an extension and that would bring the final day of filing the financial disclosure after the first debate).

  • Who Cares

    hmm seems I lost a part of a sentence.

    replace

    That is the require all candidates to have filled out all the paper work including the complete financial disclosure before handing

    with

    That is the require all candidates to have filled out all the paper work including the complete financial disclosure before handing them a spot in the first debate.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    He hit a nerve and he’s pleased. It’s a compliment, not a criticism. Add ‘dentistry’ to the list of things The Donald doesn’t understand.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    For starters, Mr. Trump, though he claims to be a conservative, is nothing of the sort. He’s barely even a Republican. For most of the last decade, he was a registered Democrat.

    What is it with conservatives trying to fob their embarrassments off onto Democrats?

    According to Wikipedia, it’s true that Trump was a Democrat for most of the twenty-oughts. But before 1999, he was a Republican.

  • StevoR

    Russell Brand on Trump & O’Reilly :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?t=11&v=oPkY9Ik7T7U

    @2. Raging Bee : with a name like Rinse Previous or whatever the fuck it is, I’d be very surprised if he commanded any respect from Trump.

    Worse yet it almost sounds like Rinsed Prius!

    @19 Raging Bee : “I’ll take Republicans’ “concern” or “alarm” seriously when a REAL leader, like maybe John Boehnor,..”

    LOL! Boehner a leader? That pitiful weak fool who can’t control a huge slab of his own party and who the Teablaggard side of the Republicans hate almost as much as Obama (Okay, yeah, that’s going too far!) and have repeatedly rebelled against and would replace in a heartbeat if they could only find someone vaguely plausible? Him? Control Trump? You were kidding there weren’t you?

  • StevoR

    ^ NB. there’;s a gendered slur in Russell Brand youtube clip btw. Not good but the rest of it is pretty well done and a good takedown of the Trumpster and O’Reilly’s stupidity there.

    Also on Boehner’s “leadership” -one source among many :

    Where does this leave Boehner? He has been under fire for some time, most recently losing 25 Republican votes in the January speakership election, a major lowlight for a sitting Speaker in the modern era. .. (snip) … the 25 dissidents from the speakership election have now doubled in size. Calls for Boehner to step down have increased, and if he allows a clean vote on the Senate DHS funding bill, those calls will only become more numerous.

    His only saving grace is that there is no obvious alternative – no one from his leadership team enjoys any more support or presumably wants the position, ..

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/28/boehners-defeat-was-actually-really-unusual-heres-why/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

    From Feb this year with suggestions Boehner may not even see out his term.

  • dingojack

    Stevo – Oh Noes! Boner lost a third of his own party‘s vote to an empty chair! That could never, ever happen here, amiright? 😉

    Dingo

  • Quantum Mechanic

    Raging Bee

    And with a name like Rinse Previous or whatever the fuck it is, I’d be very surprised if he commanded any respect from Trump.

    My father once pointed out that if you disemvowel Reince Priebus’s name, you get RNC PR BS.

  • kenn

    blf@11: Trump joined the Reform Party in 1999.

  • StevoR

    @37. dingojack : Well, now that you mention it :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-09/tony-abbott-keeps-liberal-leadership-failed-spill-motion/6079006

    Just a pity it wasn’t more and things have got better for Abbott (worse for the rest of us generally) since. Hopefully Turnbull will be able to launch another challenge at some stage – can’t come soon enough. (Abbott also won his original leadership position by just one vote .. Sigh.)

  • anubisprime

    D. C. Sessions @ 24

    The greatest ‘danger’ that Trump poses is not winning any primaries or even the presidency…that is a pretty long shot on any scale.

    But that the clowns crowded cheek by jowl on the clown car actually take on the rhetoric and attitude that seems to have struck a chord with the voters…well according to polls and we all know how well the GOP reads those, with more wishful delusion then accurate analysis.

    If Crud…sorry Cruz…(sorry not sorry at all)…has started to emulate this righteous hero and his ‘ideas’ then other GOP wannabe pres dingbats might well be moved to hop across onto the Trump uni-cycle ‘one brain fits a cockroach’ policy agenda.

    It remains a measure of just how far politicians will prostitute their integrity for self invented and ultimately fictitious votes.

    Raging Bee @ 19

    Absolutely agree, it is total bullshite for sure.

    The GOP is anything but humorous, if they were really worried then the big guns would descend and thrust the fear of a delusional fairy up his jacksie…and they have not, as yet anyway.

    The possible reason is a wait and see tactic, if he does not crash and burn by his own incompetence then it might be a case of adopt to the message.

    If they can get conned by the religious right, and they comprehensively have and thereby lose their identity and gain a whole new one into the bargain, can easily be seduced by poll ratings that look far to good to be true.

    They are not particularly smart little bunnies, but rather shallow and dumb with it.