The so-called GOP establishment’s distaste for frontrunner Donald Trump is well-documented. And with the first caucus just over two months out — and Trump continuing to dominate most polls, while establishment favorites like Jeb Bush flounder — the establishment’s panic seems to be reaching a fever pitch.
While there’ve been rumors that the establishment might try to get someone like Mitt Romney into the race, there is now word of a far more drastic move some establishment leaders may make. As The Hill reports, some big money Republican donors may support Hillary Clinton if Trump ends up being the GOP nominee.
Although Donald Trump has signed a pledge to support the Republican Party’s nominee, that doesn’t mean the party’s establishment will support him, should he win the GOP presidential nod.
A report by the Hill suggests the big money Republican donors are actually looking to support Hillary Clinton for commander in chief if Trump is at the top of the GOP ticket. Yes, the Democrat Hillary Clinton could be getting millions of dollars from Republicans.
The website says: “In conversations over the past month, GOP establishment donors have confided to the Hill that for the first time in recent memory, they find themselves contemplating not supporting a Republican nominee for president.”
When asked for whom he would cast his vote if the choices are only Mrs. Clinton and Trump, the former mayor of Los Angeles and a longtime Republican establishment figure, Dick Riordan, said: “I would probably go find a deserted island.”
“I think Hillary is disgusting,” Riordan told the Hill. “And I think Trump is crazy.”
The paper says Trump was the topic at a recent Beverly Hills lunch hosted by former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Rockwell Schnabel.
In attendance in a private dining room of the Hotel Bel-Air were powerful donors said to include Ronald Spogli, the venture capitalist and former ambassador to Italy under President George W. Bush; his business partner Bradford Freeman; and Riordan.
The donors reportedly faced the hypothetical question: “If it was Donald Trump running against Hillary Clinton, who would you vote for?”
The Hill reports:
One version has it that most of the Republicans at the table put their hands up for Clinton.
Schnabel disputes that account and said in a telephone interview Tuesday that it was just banter among friends and that he is confident that all the Republicans at the table would support the final GOP nominee for president, whomever that turns out to be.
Schnabel called back later on Tuesday afternoon to clarify what he meant. “My only caveat would be that … I assume that the Republican we’ll nominate will be somebody that would make a great president,” he said. “That’s not a conversation we’ve had to have in the past, but obviously there are some we would be concerned about.”
The hesitation among establishment GOP donors comes as no surprise to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager.
“The GOP establishment will do anything they can to stop Mr. Trump from being the GOP nominee,” Lewandowski told the Hill.
“Mr. Trump is the only one who is not controlled by the special interests. … They want a puppet that they can control, and Donald Trump will never be that person.”
Not all big GOP donors, though, are sour on the New York businessman.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Doug Manchester, a California developer and chairman of Manchester Financial Group, are among those in Trump’s corner.
“I met with Donald himself and was again very impressed with a Man [sic] who does not have to be doing what he is but believes as I do that we need to Make America great again and believe he can do it!!” Manchester wrote to friends in an email seen by the Hill.
“As all of you know I was all in for Mitt but unfortunately he did not make it!!”
“I think Trump can win,” Manchester added.
If this report is true to the spirit of the lunch referenced, the GOP could be in BIG trouble (more than it already is). Are we really at risk of having GOP “establishment” donors jump ship for not only a Democrat, but one who’s certifiably dishonest (if not just plain certifiable), not to mention of questionable competence? Please tell me that GOP leaders would not consider Hillary Clinton to “make a great president.”
To be clear, the point is not about Trump himself, but rather about the mindset of the so-called “establishment” GOP.
Is this just another sign of how out-of-touch the so-called GOP establishment is with the people? Whether it’s Trump, Carson, or even Ted Cruz dominating the polls, the GOP primary electorate seems to be sending a message, loud and clear, that business-as-usual ain’t cutting it anymore for the GOP.
To be sure, polls suggest a Trump nomination would bring challenges, as the candidate — though dominantly popular amongst GOP primary voters — has shown great polarization in general election match-ups, showing up high on the “no way” list.
Nonetheless, to those who suggest the GOP must have a more “moderate,” “establishment” candidate to win in the general election, I have to ask: how’d those “establishment” candidates work out for us in 2008 and 2012?
What do y’all think?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]