Trump un­leashes at­tacks on own party

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Steve Peo­ples, Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin


>> The “shack­les” gone, Don­ald Trump stepped up his fierce at­tacks on his own party lead­ers Tues­day, promis­ing to teach Repub­li­cans who op­pose him a les­son and fight for the pres­i­dency “the way I want to.”

Ex­actly four weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day and with his cam­paign floun­der­ing, the busi­ness­man re-

verted to the com­bat­ive, di­vi­sive strat­egy that pro­pelled him to vic­tory in the GOP pri­mary: At­tack ev­ery critic — in­clud­ing fel­low Repub­li­cans. Those close to Trump sug­gested it was “open sea­son” on ev­ery de­trac­tor, re­gard­less of party.

“It is so nice that the shack­les have been taken off me and I can now fight for Amer­ica the way I want to,” Trump said in a tweet that brought new con­cern — near panic in some cases — to a party try­ing to stave off an all-out civil war be­fore Nov. 8.

In an­other se­ries of tweets, the Repub­li­can nominee called House Speaker Paul Ryan “weak and in­ef­fec­tive,” Sen. John McCain “very foul­mouthed” and “dis­loyal” Repub­li­cans “far more dif­fi­cult than Crooked Hil­lary.”

“They come at you from all sides,” Trump de­clared. “They don’t know how to win — I will teach them!”

Rage against fel­low Repub­li­cans from the face of the 2016 GOP ex­posed a party slip­ping from mere feud­ing into ver­bal war­fare with ad­vance vot­ing al­ready un­der­way in roughly half the states. Polls sug­gest Trump is headed to­ward a loss of his­toric pro­por­tions if he doesn’t turn things around.

His scorched-earth ap­proach, days after his sex­ual preda­tory lan­guage caught on tape trig­gered a mass Repub­li­can de­fec­tion, threat­ened to alien­ate even more sup­port­ers.

“Fight­ing for the sake of fight­ing is not re­ally very help­ful,” said for­mer Trump ad­viser Barry Ben­nett.

Trump has ac­knowl­edged the pos­si­bil­ity of de­feat in re­cent days, but on Tues­day he tried to shift the blame for his strug­gles on Repub­li­can de­fec­tions and an elec­tion sys­tem that may be “rigged” against him. On Mon­day, he warned of po­ten­tial voter fraud in heav­ily African-Amer­i­can Philadel­phia, a claim for which there is no ev­i­dence but one that could chal­lenge Amer­i­cans’ faith in a fair demo­cratic process.

At the same time, Trump’s cam­paign is con­sid­er­ing whether to fea­ture Bill Clin­ton ac­cusers at his up­com­ing ral­lies. Trump shocked the po­lit­i­cal world be­fore Sun­day’s de­bate by ap­pear­ing with sev­eral women who had ac­cused the for­mer pres­i­dent of sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety decades ear­lier.

The ag­gres­sive shift is in line with the phi­los­o­phy of re­cently hired cam­paign chaiman Steve Ban­non, whose con­ser­va­tive web­site has long fueled at­tacks on Repub­li­can lead­ers and per­pet­u­ated pop­u­lar con­ser­va­tive con­spir­acy the­o­ries.

The ap­proach has done

lit­tle to en­dear Trump to anx­ious party lead­ers. At least 40 Repub­li­can se­na­tors and con­gress­men have re­voked their sup­port for the em­bat­tled Repub­li­can nominee — with nearly 30 of them urg­ing him to quit the race al­to­gether.

Repub­li­can Speaker Ryan, in a Mon­day con­fer­ence call with con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans, said he would no longer cam­paign with Trump. He said he would fo­cus in­stead on en­sur­ing Clin­ton doesn’t get a “blank check” with a Demo­crat­ic­con­trolled Congress, all but con­ced­ing that Trump would lose the pres­i­den­tial con­test.

Trump’s run­ning mate Mike Pence said in an in­ter­view with NBC Tues­day that he was “dis­ap­pointed” by the de­fec­tions and “re­spect­fully” dis­agreed with Ryan.

Yet Trump’s ag­gres­sive shift is pop­u­lar among his most loyal sup­port­ers who con­tinue to flock to his ral­lies by the thou­sands.

“He’s fight­ing for us,” said Me­gan John­ston, 54, who was among an es­ti­mated 2,000 peo­ple who packed into a high school gym to see him on Mon­day near Pitts­burgh. She shrugged off his sex­u­ally ag­gres­sive com­ments in the 2005 video and pointed at Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton’s short­com­ings.

“He said what he said and he apol­o­gized. She should be in jail,” John­ston said.




Cuban-born Lilia Mor­raz of Mi­ami, demon­strates with other sup­port­ers of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump out­side a rally for Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, and for­mer vice pres­i­dent Al Gore, on Tues­day in Mi­ami.

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