Donald Trump Takes His War With the Republican Establishment to the Next Level
During the Sunday morning talk shows, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made it clear that he had no interest in making peace with a Republican Party leadership that's reluctant to embrace him.
As the New York Times reported, Trump said during NBC's Meet the Press that he would not rule out efforts to remove House Speaker Paul Ryan from his ceremonial position as chairman of the Republican National Convention, set to take place in Cleveland in July, if he refuses to endorse Trump.
So far, Ryan has said he's "not ready" to back the real estate magnate, who departs from the GOP party line on issues like trade and the legacy of the Iraq war, and continues to show little regard for the benefits of ingratiating himself with party elites and donors.
The Times reported that Trump took aim at other prominent Republicans during Meet the Press:
Jeb Bush, he said, was "not honorable" for breaking his promise to endorse the party's nominee. Mitt Romney, he said, was "ungrateful" for the help Mr. Trump gave him in the 2012 election. Mr. Trump referred to Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator who said Friday he would never vote for Mr. Trump, as "this lightweight."
During another interview that aired Sunday, Trump touched on the dilemma that he faces in the run up to the general election.
"I have to stay true to my principles also. And I'm a conservative, but don't forget: This is called the 'Republican Party,' not the 'conservative party,'" Trump said on ABC's This Week, as noted by the Hill.
Trump said that the success of his unorthodox candidacy was a sign that the party didn't need to form a united front for November.
"Does the party have to be together, does it have to be unified?," Trump said. "I'm very different from anybody who's perhaps ever run for office. I actually don't think so."
"I think it would be better if it were unified. I think there would be something good about it, but I don't actually think it has to be unified," he added.
Trump is scheduled to meet privately with Ryan on Thursday. It remains to be seen if the meeting results in a ceasefire, or only encourages both Trump and the party establishment to dig their heels in further.