June 18, 2016
Donald Trump complained Saturday about his tepid support from top Republicans, an extraordinary public display of the acute tensions within the party’s top ranks a month before its national convention.
Trump told supporters at a Las Vegas casino rally that he believed it would be illegal for delegates at the GOP convention in Cleveland to nominate anyone but him for president, as some of his critics within the party have suggested they should.
“Who are they going to pick?” Trump asked. “I beat everybody. And I don’t mean beat – I beat the hell out of them. And we’re going to beat Hillary, and it would be helpful if the Republicans could help us a little bit.”
Trump’s comments to cheering followers in a Cirque du Soleil theater at the Treasure Island resort came as top Republicans are fretting – some in public – that his recent inflammatory remarks about Latinos and Muslims could endanger GOP prospects not only for the White House, but for Congress and other races, in the November election.
Among other things, Trump has said an Indiana-born federal judge’s Mexican ancestry should disqualify him from presiding over a fraud suit against Trump, and suggested a Muslim judge would also be unable to treat him fairly in court.
After a gunman shot and killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others at a gay nightclub last weekend in Orlando, Trump broadly accused American Muslims, without evidence, of failing to tell authorities about terrorist plots.
Trump’s stop in Las Vegas came after several days of raising money for his campaign and the Republican National Committee at events in Georgia, Texas and Nevada.
He is scheduled to raise more money Saturday afternoon in Arizona at the onetime home of Barry Goldwater, the late staunch conservative senator whose 1964 Republican bid for the White House ended in a landslide defeat.
Trump’s failure to raise money aggressively, compared to traditional major-party White House nominees, has been a source of growing frustration for many Republicans.
On Saturday, he blamed the party for not helping him.
“Right now, I’m raising a lot of money for the Republican Party, and a lot of beneficiaries, and I like doing it – but we have to have help,” Trump told the crowd in Las Vegas.
“You know, life is like a two-way street, right? It’s a two-way street. So that’s it. Otherwise, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. I’ll just keep funding my own campaign.” But hopefully, he added, “I can continue to go the way we’re going.”
Trump said he wants the party to unite.
“But if for any reason they get a little bit like they don’t want to help out as much, then I’ll fund my own campaign,” he said.
Trump showed no sign of moderating his rhetoric to accommodate GOP critics who question his temperament.
He mocked Karl Rove, a Republican political consultant who was a top aide to President George W. Bush, and conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer for casting doubts on his candidacy from the outset.
He called President Obama “pathetic,” said Secretary of State John F. Kerry was “an idiot” and described Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, as “weak.”
“You think she’s a president?” Trump asked. “Take a look at her.”