Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus defended Donald Trump Sunday after Trump attacked Texas Senator Ted Cruz last week. The Republican presidential candidate once again claimed Cruz’s father had ties with President John F. Kennedy’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Trump’s supporters who served in office often simply went silent as he made his outlandish conspiracy theories and attacks, in an attempt to retain favor with the Republican presidential frontrunner without losing their own credibility as politicians. This time around, however, the RNC chair decided to openly defend Trump, displaying no shame in defending the most asinine libel leveled against a fellow presidential candidate: that his father was somehow involved in the death of the 35th American president.
“He’s got a right to talk about whatever he wants to talk about, however, I don’t think he was ever saying this was some sort of factual information,” Priebus said at a press conference, emphasizing that this was only something Trump had “referred to” but never claimed as fact.
Speaking of facts, Trump himself defended his own comments… by stating just the exact opposite of Priebus’s message.
“All I did was point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” Trump had defended last week, insisting his conspiracy theory was backed in May by a “credible” journal (specifically, the National Enquirer, owned by Trump’s longtime buddy) and denying that he bashed Heidi Cruz’s appearance months ago.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign strategist, blamed Cruz for bringing it up in the first place.
“It was raised by Sen. Cruz on Friday morning after the convention; it wasn’t raised by Mr. Trump,” he said.
Priebus seemed apathetic as to who brought up the issue, insisting Trump can say whatever he wants to say and that the pack of unbridled lies and accusations “doesn’t identify the Donald Trump campaign” or the “overall picture of Donald Trump":
I think he mentioned it in passing and everybody glommed onto it and it became a controversy, but I think as far as the overall picture of Donald Trump — I mean, that is one rhetorical issue that you can all debate until the cows come home, but it doesn't identify the Donald Trump campaign.
In April, Trump had threatened to fire Priebus from his role as RNC chair if he’d retained enough delegates to win the GOP nomination. This was because back in October, Priebus had mustered just enough courage to respond to a long season of abuse from Trump, who accused him of overseeing a “rigged” system in favor of Cruz after losing delegates to Cruz in several states, including Colorado, last fall.
"The Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to kind of crap to happen. The rules are no good when they don't count your vote ... like in Colorado," Trump had said at a rally in New York. "The rules are no good when you have to play dirty tricks to pick up delegates."
"I know the rules very well, but I know it's stacked against me by the establishment," Trump complained as part of his tirade against the RNC. Priebus had responded that the rules of the election process were fair and known to the public.
Asked whether he would retain the three-term RNC chairman in his role if given the nomination, an angry Trump responded, “I don’t know. I haven’t made the determination.” In March, Trump warned the RNC that if he were not handed the GOP nomination in Cleveland, “I think you’d have riots.”
Trump’s chief political advisor Roger Stone had subsequently threatened to publicly disclose the hotel room numbers of anti-Trump delegates at the RNC and hold a “day of rage” in support of his political candidate. Priebus backed down in light of the threats and dismissed Stone’s threats as “inappropriate,” offering no additional response.
“He’s got a right to talk about whatever he wants to talk about, however, I don’t think he was ever saying this was some sort of factual information."
Reince Priebus, covering for Donald Trump
In another tabloid released earlier today, Trump’s “credible” journalistic ally bragged that leaked documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) showed that in addition to collaborating with Hillary Clinton, DNC strategists had worked in Trump's favor by supporting Trump’s libelous tirade against Cruz’s father.
“It was something he referred to. He’s talked about it, he’s gotten off from it. As far as I’m concerned we can move on from it,” the RNC chair said on Sunday, once again dismissing Trump's actions.
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