Republicans Warm Up to Trump after Big NY Win
Hollywood, Fla: US Republican officials began meeting on Wednesday, a day after Donald Trump’s crushing victory in a New York presidential nominating contest, and said he has been winning growing acceptance within their ranks — but they want to see the billionaire do more to mend fences with the party establishment.
Trump, the frontrunner to become the Republican presidential candidate in November’s election, was the focus for the party’s spring meeting of 168 Republican National Committee (RNC) members in Hollywood, Florida. “There are a fair number of RNC members who were discounting his chances of success when we met in January and now see that he’s building a substantial lead and may in fact get to 1,237 before we get to the convention,” said Steve Duprey, an RNC member from New Hampshire. “The New York results were such an overwhelming win,” Duprey said. “It’s impressive. That’s what I’ve heard people talking about.” RNC members said Trump could help improve the climate by taking steps to end the bad blood that has developed between him and the committee’s leadership, including RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
Trump has said that Cruz’s harvest of delegates in Colorado, where rankand-file Republicans did not vote or caucus, showed that the party’s nominatingprocessis“rigged.”HehaswonderedwhetherPriebus,whoispopular with the RNC ranks, should continue in his job if Trump is the nominee. “I think it’s time for that rhetoric to end,” said Jeff Essmann, chairman of the Montana Republican Party. Bob Kapel, the RNC member representing Washington, noted that Trump had toned down his rhetoric in his New York victory speech on Tuesday night, and said he would like to see that continue. Kapel is a delegate for former candidate Marco Rubio and now backs Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Nevertheless, Kapel said of Trump and the Republicans: “We’re about winningtheWhiteHouse.Obviously, I have issues with him, but our nominee will be our nominee.”
South Carolina Republican Party chairman Matt Moore said Trump’s recent hi ring of Rick Wiley, a Republican veteran who was former presidentialcandidateScottWalker’s campaign manager, was a good sign.