House Speaker Paul Ryan this morning said Donald Trump’s comments about federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel were “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Ryan then disavowed it and said it did not represent the Republican Party.
From there, the day only got worse for the Trump campaign.
U.S. Sen Jeff Flake of Arizona said there may be a contested GOP convention next month because Republicans are realizing Trump can’t win in November.
“Let’s face it: meet the old Trump, just like the new Trump. We’ve got what we’ve got. That’s not somebody who can win the White House,” said Flake.
Michael Reagan, the conservative son of former President Ronald Reagan, announced he would not vote for Trump. “My father would not vote for Donald Trump and he may even say, ‘I didn’t leave the party. The party left me.’”
Then in Iowa, State Sen. David Johnson, a lifelong Republican, changed his voter registration to “no party.” Johnson, one of the senior members of the Iowa Senate, says he has left the Republican Party due to “the racist remarks and judicial jihad” by Trump.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois also announced he will not back Trump this fall.
“It is absolutely essential that we are guided by a commander-in-chief with a responsible and proper temperament, discretion and judgment,” said Kirk. “Our President must be fit to command the most powerful military the world has ever seen, including an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons. After much consideration, I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”
Kirk follows U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who is leading the GOP “never Trump” movement, in refusing to support the nominee.
In Ohio, the key battleground state for Republicans in presidential elections, both GOP Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman have not endorsed Trump.
Kasich said yesterday that Trump owes Judge Curiel an apology. Portman says he plans to skip the national convention in his own state to concentrate on his own campaign events.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said late today he will not act as a surrogate for Trump nor speak on his behalf.
In Nevada, another swing state, Gov. Brian Sandoval said he is reconsidering voting for Trump after his attack on the Hispanic judge.
“I support the Republican Party and will continue to help elect strong Republican leaders in Nevada but at this time I cannot say I will definitely vote for Mr. Trump,” said Sandoval.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has called Trump “a phony, a con man and a fraud.” There is growing pressure on him to enter the presidential race as an independent candidate.
Not since Barry Goldwater in 1964 has there been a nominee who has so deeply split the Republican Party. As the presumptive nominee Trump should be gaining support from party members leading up to the convention, but there is a continuing and steady drip away from his campaign.