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!
Totally false reporting on my call with @Reince Priebus. He called me, ten minutes, said I hit a “nerve", doing well, end!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2015
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.