Donald Trump voiced annoyance today at continued resistance to his presumptive presidential nomination from some Republicans as he accused former Florida governor Jeb Bush of trying to undermine his candidacy and appeared to take aim at Sen. Ted Cruz. R-Texas.
“We are going to beat Hillary. And it would be helpful if the Republicans could help us a little bit,” said Trump. “You know? Okay? Just a little bit.”
After complaining in general terms about talk of a “revolt” against him, Trump later suggested that Bush was involved in an opposing “movement” and that another well-known Republican was also plotting against him.
“By the way, Jeb is working on the movement, just so you understand. I love competition like that. I love it,” said Trump. He added: “And the other one should be obvious to you, but we’ll figure that out very easily.”
The Washington Post reported this week that dozens of Republican convention delegates are trying to devise a plan to block Trump at the summer’s party meetings. Many of the delegates involved supported Cruz but said they are not taking cues from any of Trump’s former rivals.
“There’s a little movement. And I just heard today where it’s coming from. It’s coming from people that have been badly defeated,” said Trump. At another point, he cited “a couple of guys who were badly defeated” who are “trying to organize maybe like a little bit of a delegate revolt.”
While he did not spell out who was the second person he was talking about, Trump at one point appeared to take an indirect swipe at Cruz, who was effectively the runner-up to the real estate mogul in the primary race. He attacked Republicans who said he could not clinch the necessary delegates to win the nomination, adding: “One of the people, who probably hasn’t quite given up yet … was trying to buy up all of the second ballot people.” As a candidate, Cruz made an effort to woo convention delegates to support him in a scenario in which the convention was not decided on the first ballot.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks explained his remarks by saying: “Mr. Trump was stating the fact that with almost 14 million votes and with 37 state victories, he won the nomination in a landslide and that anybody who he so soundly defeated would have zero path to getting the nomination both from a practical or a legal standpoint.”
Spokesmen for Cruz and Bush did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither Cruz nor Bush has endorsed Trump. Bush has said he will not vote for Trump.
Trump made his Saturday remarks at a campaign rally inside a theater at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Supporters lined up to enter hours before the event, and many were turned away due to space constraints. Trump was scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. but took the stage about 40 minutes late. He blamed the delay, in part, on the TSA, for not bringing enough security screening equipment to get people in fast enough.
In his remarks, Trump cited a statement from a Republican National Committee spokesman seeking to tamp down talk of a convention revolt.
“Reince Priebus. You know what that is, right?” Trump asked, mentioning the name of the RNC chairman.
The crowd didn’t react favorably.
“No, he’s a good guy,” Trump interjected.
The mogul said he has helped raise $12 million to $13 million for the Republican Party in the last couple of days.
But there are lingering tensions between Trump and his party’s leaders. Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wis., who has voiced strong disagreements with Trump even as he continues to support him, said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that House Republicans who don’t want to back Trump should not “do something that’s contrary to their conscience.” In making the comment, Ryan applied virtually no pressure on rank-and-file Republicans to back the presumptive nominee – an extraordinary stance for the sitting speaker this far along in an election year.
As Trump started speaking Saturday, there were at least two rows of seats in one corner of the venue – which has a capacity of about 1,600 people – that were empty. But supporters continued to enter as he spoke. By the end, that section, like the rest of the theater, was full.
By 8:45 a.m., the line of people waiting to enter the rally stretched onto the casino floor, where the slots were ringing, and some Electric Daisy Carnival festival-goers were wandering about. More and more Trump supporters showed up, creating a snaking line through the casino.
Soon after 10 a.m., security guards toward the line’s end began shouting, “we’re at maximum capacity!”
Most ticket holders who were turned away took it in stride, calling the lengthy lines an impressive victory for Trump.
“It’s just nice to be this close to him,” said Margo Fisco, 62, who spent 20 minutes trying to find parking and knew her odds of making it in the rally weren’t good. “I’m a big fan.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Sean Sullivan, Jackie Valley