Nate Jackson / May 6, 2016

Who Wants Unity?

The GOP is increasingly fractured now that Trump is leading it.

“I am confident that I can unite much of [the Republican Party],” Donald Trump said after winning Indiana and clearing the presidential field. But then he proceeded to totally undermine his own statement: “Some of it, I don’t want. There were statements made about me that those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we serve two terms. … Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want. I don’t think it’s necessary. People would be voting for me, they’re not voting for the party.”

Well, he’s getting what he wanted. Not only will the Bushes sit this one out, but so will previous nominee Mitt Romney, who says he’s “dismayed” by the turn toward “demagoguery and populism.” Speaking of populism, Sarah Palin is the only member of any previous Republican presidential ticket who’s on board the Trump Train.

Update: Bob Dole has now thrown his support behind Trump.

And now the highest elected Republican in the land, House Speaker Paul Ryan, says, “I’m just not ready to [endorse Trump] at this point. I’m not there right now.”

Ryan has been fiercely critical of Trump before — of Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his refusal to disavow David Duke and the KKK, and his encouragement of violence at campaign rallies — so what’s Ryan waiting for now? “What Republicans want to see is that we have a standard bearer that bears our standards,” he said. “I think conservatives want to know, does [Trump] share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution?”

The answer is that Trump clearly doesn’t share those values. Moreover, Trump and Ryan agree on virtually no policy positions. But Ryan is almost surely going to end up endorsing him anyway. After all, Ryan will be serving as the chairman of the Republican National Convention in July.

The important takeaway here isn’t that none of these Republicans are supporting the current presumptive nominee, it’s that such animosity is precisely why Trump won. Voters clearly are so tired of the GOP that they’ve chosen a guy who promises to blow it up. Establishment or not, is it any wonder prominent Republicans aren’t keen to jump on the bandwagon?

“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” responded Trump. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first.” Ryan is right, but the political advantage in this tussle goes to Trump.

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