Donald Trump went to Capitol Hill on Thursday with the intent of fostering greater party unity ahead of the national convention. However, instead of finding unity Trump walked into animosity.
According to The Washington Post, Trump had a tense exchange with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) who has been critical of Trump’s stand on immigration. Flake also voiced his concern over Trump’s criticism of fellow Senator John McCain’s war record during the primaries. Things went downhill from there as Trump allegedly characterized Illinois Senator Mark Kirk as a loser.
GOP Congressmen concerned about Trump’s controversial remarks
Trump had an easier time on the House side as he had a meet and greet with the House GOP conference. Speaker Paul Ryan thought the meeting went well and felt that Trump was responsive to the “A Better Way” policy position that House Republicans have recently introduced.
Republican members of Congress have expressed ongoing concern at Trump’s penchant for making controversial statements that many find difficult to explain and defend to their constituents.
What I thought was especially helpful today was our members just got access and got to ask their questions and talk about their issues, I thought he did a great job engaging with our members, and I think our members appreciated it.
— Speaker of the House - Paul D. Ryan
Efforts still under way to derail Trump at GOP convention
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal ran a story outlining the plans of the anti-Trump forces to derail Trump at the convention in Cleveland later this month. While the Journal described the efforts as a long shot, the anti-Trump group is making some headway in the Rules Committee on a motion to free delegates to back whomever they wish rather than being bound to Trump.
Anti-Trump delegates think a coup is within reach at the upcoming GOP convention.
— Reid J. Epstein - The Wall Street Journal
To put the motion before the full convention at least 25% of the members of the Rules Committee would need to support the move. Should they succeed in getting the measure to the Convention floor they would need the support of half of the delegates – 1,237 – to pass.
No doubt, Hillary Clinton would be delighted at the image of Republicans trying to deny the nomination to the candidate that won the most states, the most delegates, and the most votes in the primaries. In the end, it seems likely this effort to derail Mr. Trump will suffer the same fate as did previous attempts, but it provides yet another distraction to Trump’s campaign.
Mr. Trump did get some good news when his chief rival for the nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz accepted Trump’s invitation to speak at the GOP convention.