In an extensive article in The New York Times titled “Will Trump Swallow the G.O.P. Whole?”, writer Mark Leibovich profiles RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, revealing in the process that numerous GOP heavyweights found creative answers to avoid talking to him about Donald Trump.
To a comical extent, top Republicans willed themselves invisible when I reached out to them for this article, fearing, not incorrectly, that the conversation would turn to Trump. This included some of the most typically quotable Republicans, including former Trump challengers like Graham (“He’s sorta had his fill talking about Trump,” a spokesman emailed), Perry (“Thanks for thinking of him”) and Ted Cruz (“Not great timing on our end”); the previous nominee Mitt Romney (“You are kind to think of me,” he wrote); Trump stalwarts like Chris Christie (“We are going to take a pass this time”); Trump-averse Republican governors like Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (“The governor won’t be available”); and senators like Mike Lee, of Utah (“Senator Lee would love to talk to you about the state of the G.O.P. and conservatism in general. We are free anytime after Nov 8.”).
The refusal by the GOP heavyweights to speak about Trump came before the revelation on Monday night of Trump's incompetence in raising money for his campaign.
Leibovitz notes that Trump expressed contempt for those who opposed him, responding to the writer’s query as to whether politicians or real estate people were more difficult to swing to his side. Trump said smugly, “Well, I’m not referring to any politicians in particular, but I’ve said many times that businesspeople are much tougher. Politicians tend to be much more deceptive and deceiving and more willing to break a deal. But they are not as tough.”
The politic path to take is simply eschew any mention of him so as not to be tainted in any way by his toxic persona.
Trump’s self-perceived toughness has some interesting aspects to it; given a list of more than twenty names of donors to whom he should speak to ask for money, Trump terminated his efforts after speaking to three, apparently unwilling to bear the burden of listening to what the donors would demand he do in return for the favor. As Politico reported, “While Trump had promised Priebus that he would call two dozen top GOP donors, when RNC chief of staff Katie Walsh recently presented Trump with a list of more than 20 donors, he called only three before stopping, according to two sources familiar with the situation.”
There is little for GOP representatives to say regarding Trump; unless the delegates at the Republican National Convention are willing to dump him to forestall the coming debacle, he will be the nominee, so the politic path to take is simply eschew any mention of him so as not to be tainted in any way by his toxic persona.