Dozens of frightened Republicans are signing onto a letter urging the Republican National Committee to cut off financial help to presidential candidate Donald Trump before his controversial and unconventional campaign sinks vulnerable Senate and House incumbents.
More than 70 Republicans – including former members of Congress – have already reportedly signed the letter imploring RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to shift money away from Trump to hotly-contested Senate and House of Representatives races before its too late.
The draft letter says “recent Fox News, Marist College and NBC News/Wall Street Journal national polls show Trump trailing Clinton by 9 to 14 percentage points, margins that would make for the largest general election blowout since 1984 if they held."
Signing an appeal such as this is not easy for any of us. But in our view,Trump’s divisive and dangerous actions are not only a threat to our other candidates, but to our Party and the nation
Draft of letter to RNC Chair Reince Priebus
Trump, in an interview on Fox News Channel’s "The O’Reilly Factor" Thursday night, dismissed the letter and suggested that the Republican Party needs him financially more than he needs it.
"I’m the one that’s funding, I’m the one that’s raising the money and other people are getting to use the money that I raised," he said. "I’m putting up money from my own campaign but I’m raising a lot of money for the Republican Party. Sometimes somebody will say ‘Well, we’re not going to support Trump.’ They’re not going to support because they aren’t the people that I want."
Trump also disputed a Time Magazine report Thursday that initially suggested that Priebus, in a phone call to Trump, threatened to redirect RNC money from the presidential campaign to down-ballot races.
Time issued a correction online Thursday, stating that "Priebus did not explicitly convey that possibility to Trump in that phone conversation."
Still, Trump told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that "if it is true, that’s okay too because all I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party."
"I’m the one raising the money for them," he said. "In fact, right now I’m in Orlando, I’m going to a fundraiser for the Republican Party. If they want to do that they can save me a lot of time and a lot of energy."
The letter from Trump-weary and worried Republicans describes him as a danger to himself and the party.
It lists a series of recent Trump missteps – from rhetorically attacking the Muslim family of a U.S. Army captain killed while serving in Iraq to "Deliberately and repeatedly lying about scores of issues, large and small" – as evidence.
"We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck."
The letter was being circulated Thursday as Trump repeated his false assertion that President Barack Obama founded the terrorist group ISIS and declared that he’s not going to change his campaign style or tactics.
"I think we’re going to have a victory, but we’ll see," Trump said on CNBC’s "Squawk Box. "At the end, it’s either going to work or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice long vacation."