The Republican Party’s official leadership, and the massive grassroots apparatus it commands, will win or lose with Donald Trump.
Amid swirling rumors that the Republican National Committee would roll back its efforts in support for the embattled nominee in favor of down-ballot races, party Chairman Reince Priebus told committee members on a conference call Monday that the party stands firmly behind Trump, according to Politico.
The news site quoted a person who listened to the closed conference call as saying: “Over the last 24 to 48 hours there have been a lot of false rumors that we didn’t want to engage in. Nothing has changed in terms of our support for the nominee.”
The announcement came after a turbulent weekend that saw dozens of elected Republicans flee Trump after an 11-year-old video surfaced showing Trump making lewd comments about women in a private conversation with “Access Hollywood” co-host Billy Bush.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) un-endorsed Trump, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he would no longer defend Trump, and instead would focus on preserving the GOP majority in Congress to serve as a check on a President Hillary Clinton.
Trump lashed out at Ryan on Twitter on Monday: “Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.”
According to Politico’s report, Priebus told committee members that there was no mechanism for replacing a nominee who does not voluntarily step aside, and Trump publicly and emphatically has rejected that option. Preibus reiterated that the party is in “full coordination” with the Trump campaign and continues to have a great relationship with his team, a source told Politico.
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Priebus’ announcement comes after running mate Mike Pence restated his support for Trump with a tweet Sunday night congratulating him on a “big debate win! Proud to stand with you as we #MAGA.” Silence from Pence prior to that fueled speculation he was considering quitting the ticket.