Trump sets terms for GOP unity

WASHINGTON:While commentators are spending airtime and newsprint analysing whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can unify the party, he appears keener on collision than compromise. Mr. Trump, questioning the very premise of the need for unity, has now declared that it didn’t bother him much whether the party was united or not.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on Saturday in Lynden, Washington.

“It is the candidate who embraces the party and its policies. It is not the party that embraces the candidate and his policies,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus had explained after declaring Mr. Trump to be the party’s presumptive nominee last Tuesday. A week later, it is now clear that Mr. Trump does not agree.

Common ground
Mr. Trump has expressed willingness to reach out to the party leadership and seek common ground but only without compromising his populist agenda. “This is what the people want,” the candidate has declared, challenging the party leaders to make the choice.

Many party leaders are making that choice, reluctant and whining as they may be. Indian-American Republican leader and former Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal said he would vote for Mr. Trump. “He is certainly the better of two bad choices,” Mr. Jindal wrote in a newspaper article. “I have no idea what Mr. Trump might do, while Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton is predictable. Both are scary, the former less so,” Mr. Jindal said. Senator John McCain, who was the party’s 2008 candidate against President Barack Obama, said it would be “foolish to ignore” the voters who have chosen Mr. Trump. “You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party,” Mr. McCain said.

“You have to draw the conclusion that there is some distance, if not a disconnect, between party leaders and members of Congress and the many voters who have selected Donald Trump to be the nominee of the party,” Mr.

McCain said, referring to comments by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Lindsey Graham, who have refused to support Mr. Trump.

Mr. Ryan and Mr. Jindal have questioned whether Mr. Trump is a conservative. “I think electing Donald Trump would be the second-worst thing we could do this November, better only than electing Hillary Clinton, to serve as the third term for the Obama administration’s radical policies. I am not pretending that Mr. Trump has suddenly become a conservative champion or even a reliable Republican,” Mr. Jindal said.

Mr. Trump’s said in an interview that the party was called the Republican Party and not the conservative party, and he did not bother about labels. Expanding his plank, the candidate said his policies would cut taxes for the middle class but may increase them for richer people. Revising an earlier position against any rise in the minimum wage, Mr. Trump now says he will consider that also, moving further away from traditional conservative positions.

Christie’s new role
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump said on Monday he has chosen New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a rival turned ally, to lead his White House transition team as he prepares for the general election campaign.

“Governor Christie is an extremely knowledgeable and loyal person with the tools and resources to put together an unparalleled Transition Team, one that will be prepared to take over the White House when we win in November,” he said in a statement.

Posted by on May 10, 2016. Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.