Republicans on edge as Donald Trump’s polls slump – campaign live – The Guardian
Hello and welcome to our continuing live coverage of the 2016 presidential election, a race between a former reality TV star and the first female (presumptive) nominee of a major political party – both historically disliked and both out to make history, if the American people can just help them get past each other.
Donald Trump also has to get past some of his fellows in the Republican party, and probably past himself. The presumptive nominee for the party of Abraham Lincoln has spent the week insinuating that the president has a secret agenda linked to terrorism, saying the US should ban Muslims and unspecified others from entering the country, banning newspapers from his campaign, and congratulating himself for predicting a terror attack that was also the worst mass shooting in US history. He has continued his rallies, unperturbed by criticism.
Trump faces the press this morning, three times. His top lieutenant Paul Manafort, formerly an aide to a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president, will also evangelize for the businessman with a dubious business record.
Trump’s poll numbers have plummeted and would-be allies have backed away. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the most powerful Republican in Washington, has called Trump’s remarks “racist” and told members of Congress they should vote with their conscience – even if that doesn’t mean Trump.
The speaker has not rescinded his endorsement of Trump, but Ryan’s retreat from Trump will be made clearer when NBC airs its interview with him later today.
Also appearing this morning are two leaders of the National Rifle Association, another group put in an awkward place by the man it has endorsed. In the wake of last Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, the worst in US history, Trump said he was open to banning gun purchases for people on the terror watchlist – a proposal welcomed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.
The NRA leaders said they would be happy to discuss the idea with Trump in a private meeting, only a few weeks after he promised to rid the US of gun-free zones (several of his clubs and properties are gun-free zones, as will be the Republican National Convention in July).
The presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, will not appear on television this Sunday. Nor will her erstwhile rival Bernie Sanders, who has refused to quit the race but shifted into a new, lower-key gear. He declared on Thursday that he would work for the next few months to stop Donald Trump at all costs.
Clinton and Trump alike are chasing Sanders’ supporters, and one of the looming questions of the primary race is to what extent will Sanders bring his voters to Clinton’s cause. Obama and progressive senator Elizabeth Warren have both rallied behind the former secretary of state, boosting Democrats’ hopes that Sanders’ followers will rally around the candidate who can defeat Trump.
No matter what the senator himself decides, his supporters may not go quietly into the night. Many have vowed that “the awakening” that Sanders started is “not going to burn out in four years”.
Also speaking this week will be Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who may provide all five shows with updates on the investigation into last Sunday’s horrific shooting, Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, who has made gun control a person crusade, and Representative Michael McCaul, a national security hawk likely to advocate for increased military intervention abroad.
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