After a dominant Super Tuesday, Donald Trump appeared to loosen some of the stiff establishment opposition to his nomination, winning over tacit support from some conservative insiders who had previously expressed grave doubts about the real estate magnate. It was reported Wednesday that Trump had even reached out to House Speaker Paul Ryan, hoping to consolidate mainstream support as his nomination grows more likely.
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox News Channel has gone through several rounds of feuding with Trump, said Wednesday that it was time for Republicans to rally around the businessman. “As predicted,” Murdoch said on Twitter, “Trump is reaching out to make peace with the Republican ‘establishment.’ If he becomes inevitable, the party would be mad not to unify.”
Of course, others may have a different view of the word “inevitable,” even if they agree with Murdoch in theory. That might specifically include former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who lashed out at Trump in a speech at the University of Utah on Thursday. According to remarks reported by the Associated Press, Romney said Trump’s “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said. He insisted that if Trump won the nomination, it would provide a clear path to victory for Democrat Hillary Clinton. “He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president.”
Romney may be hitting the full-steam ahead button on Trump, but others are wondering if that’s the best way forward. The Koch brothers announced Wednesday that they would not spend any money trying to prevent Trump from getting the nomination, despite their concerns about his stances on trade and immigration.
“We have no plans to get involved in the primary,” said James Davis, a spokesman for the Kochs’ political group.
And William J. Bennett, the former education secretary under Ronald Reagan, said the Republican opposition was getting tiresome.
“I’m used to being the moral scold, but Trump is winning fair and square, so why should the nomination be grabbed from him?” said Bennett. “We’ve been trying to get white working-class people into the party for a long time. Now they’re here in huge numbers because of Trump and we’re going to alienate them? I don’t get it. Too many people are on their high horse.”
Depending on how Trump fares in the next two weeks’ worth of primaries, we could be on our way to a convention where no one candidate has enough delegates to secure the nomination. Some have suggested that it would then be perfectly proper to award the nomination to someone else, even if Trump has an overwhelming lead. But if the main goal is still to win in November, that would be a mistake of epic proportions.