Reports of GOP turmoil swirl as Trump goes rogue

Photo: John Moore/ Getty Images.

Donald Trump’s refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan, his unabashed criticism of a family whose son was killed fighting in Iraq, and a series of other high-profile missteps have infuriated key members of the Republican Party and left his campaign staff demoralized, according to multiple reports published Wednesday morning.

One source close to the campaign described the apparently bleak situation to CNBC by characterising the Trump staff as “suicidal.”

“Manafort not challenging [Trump] anymore,” said the source, described as an ally of campaign chairman Paul Manafort. “Mailing it in. Staff suicidal.”

Another source told NBC News it was “way worse than people realise,” while others were said to have referred to the campaign as “Crazytown.”

Officials within the GOP didn’t seem have much more optimism.

ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl reported that “senior officials at the party are actively exploring what would happen if Trump dropped out” and are wondering about “how to replace him on the ballot.”

“He is so unpredictable right now, they are so unable to control his message that they just don’t know and they clearly think it is a possibility, which is why they’re looking at these rules,” Karl said on “Good Morning America.”

A top Republican told NBC News that Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, was “apoplectic” over Trump’s refusal to endorse Ryan in his House reelection race. Priebus was described as “furious” by sources who spoke with Karl.

Even Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, distanced himself from Trump by telling Fox News on Wednesday that he “strongly support[s]” Ryan and endorses his reelection.

And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, blasted him for what he called “self-destructive” behaviour.

“Trump is still behaving like as though it was the primaries and there were 17 candidates,” Gingrich told Fox Business Channel on Wednesday. “He has not made the transition to being the potential president of the United States, which is a much tougher league.”

Republicans close to Trump were plotting an intervention to protect other Republican candidates who will also be up for election this November, NBC News reported. Top Republicans were said to be hoping that Trump’s children could help rein him in.

A CNN reporter cited a Trump adviser who said the media needed to focus more on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and less on Trump:

Trump spokesman Jason Miller pushed back on the reports of turmoil within the campaign, tweeting out a statement.

“The idea that Paul Manafort is mailing it in is completely erroneous,” the statement said. “Our campaign just finished up our strongest month of fundraising to date, we’re adding talented and experienced staffers on a daily basis, and Mr. Trump’s turning out bigger and more enthusiastic crowds than Hillary Clinton ever could.”

Manafort has also denied the reports:

And Trump stood firm, saying nothing was amiss. He tweeted Wednesday morning:

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