A lightning rod for controversy, Donald Trump is infuriating many top members of the Republican party, who fear his tirelessly provocative comments are alienating voters.
The latest opinion polls show Trump trailing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by as much as 10 points, though he still has strong support from blue-collar workers angry at the political establishment.
Wonder if this poll will make Trump flip out at Fox News: https://t.co/6nXSrUzzEh— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) August 3, 2016
This week also saw rumours of a rift with his running mate Mike Pence. Trump has refused to support House Speaker Paul Ryan in an upcoming primary in Wisconsin, while Pence did.
“He (Pence) came to me, he called me the other day and said, ‘Do you mind’ — because he likes Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan’s a good guy actually,” Trump told his supporters in Portland, Maine on Thursday. “I say, ‘Mike, you like him? Yes, go ahead and do it, a hundred percent’. And he endorsed him.”
Republicans are nearing panic as Trump’s provocations divert attention from Clinton's perceived vulnerabilities https://t.co/qPX3LTK3Yp— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) August 4, 2016
Ryan, the most senior elected Republican, has for his part endorsed Trump in the race to the White House. But he was one of many in the party to criticize the tycoon’s public dispute with the parents of a Muslim soldier killed in the Iraq war.
Alarm inside the party
“There’s clearly growing concern in the Republican Party hierarchy about the Trump candidacy,” said Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow and research coordinator at the American Enterprise Institute.
“One day after another there’s a new statement that enrages someone. He doesn’t endorse their major party candidates. And so, yes, the alarm is growing inside the party.”
Trump’s wife Melania is also under scrutiny amid reports she may have worked in the US illegally when she first came from Slovenia to pursue a modeling career.
MELANIATRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) August 4, 2016
She has lately also been accused of plagiarizing First Lady Michelle Obama, and lying about having obtained a degree in architecture.
Trump did have some good news this week: a windfall of small donations to his campaign, up 69 percent in July.
On Wednesday, Trump’s team said it had raised around $80 million last month, plus $2 million from the billionaire himself. In comparison, Clinton’s campaign brought in about $90 million.