The GOP Civil War Continues

Connor  Hoffman
|
Posted: Jun 20, 2016 3:00 PM
The GOP Civil War Continues

The Republican establishment and Donald Trump have never really had friendly relations, but in the past few days their relationship has hit an all-time low.

Trump's recent attacks on Muslims, Judge Curiel and his plummeting poll numbers have seriously worried some party officials, and it seems the idea of a contested convention hasn't been completely abandoned.

On Sunday, there was a conference call that included over a 1,000 people, including Republican delegates. This call was designed to try and plan an effort for a rule change at the convention that would unbind the delegates, and allow them to deny Trump the nomination.

Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey state director for the Cruz campaign, is one of the leading voices in this movement. "Our delegates have an obligation come July to do what's right for the Republican Party, not just anoint Donald Trump," said Lonegan. 

Those who were part of the call were encouraged to start "traditional grass roots campaigning" in support of freeing delegates. Lonegan explained that they're aren't planning on supporting a specific candidate. He also described how he has "woken up every day struggling to accept that he's going to be our candidate," and how he's disappointed Trump has tried to appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters rather than conservatives. 

Regina Thomson, a Colorado delegate, said "As delegates, you were not chosen to be rubber stamps." Kendal Unruh, another Colorado delegate and one of the people leading the campaign, described the movement as "an anybody but Trump movement." 

"Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we're not worried about that. We're just doing the job to make sure that he's not the face of our party," said Unruh. 

One of the main Super-PAC's leading the charge, Citizens in Charge Foundation, has been formed to raise 2.5 million in advertising to inform delegates they can vote how they please. 

Even before the phone call, the NeverTrump movement already experienced some pushback from party officials. Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee spokesman, attacked this movement on Twitter on Friday. 

In a surprising twist, it looks like House Speaker Paul Ryan understands the ramifications and doesn't condemn Republicans from attacking Trump. "The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that's contrary to their conscience," said Ryan on Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press. Don't forget, Ryan will be the one chairing the convention next month. 

Trump himself responded to growing anti-Trump sentiment within the party with a statement he released on Friday. 

"I won almost 14 million votes, which is by far more votes than any candidate in the history of the Republican primaries," said Trump. "I have tremendous support and get the biggest crowds by far and any such move would not only be totally illegal but also a rebuke of the millions of people who feel so strongly about what I am saying."

The NeverTrump movement seems to be getting stronger day by day, and it's not looking bright for Republicans this November. Those refusing to support Trump include John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Larry Hogan and Lindsey Graham. 

Stay tuned for more updates as the convention nears.