In less than 24 hours, the Republican presidential field winnowed down to just one candidate—Donald Trump — and in turn threw the party into chaos. The former reality TV star claims he wants to unite the GOP but his apparent ascension as the party's presidential nominee has done anything but.
Following Ted Cruz's announcement he was dropping out of the race, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus quickly declared Trump the "presumptive GOP nominee" and called for Republicans to rally behind him. However, Republican voters and leaders throughout the country have vowed they will not vote for the real estate magnate. Some are threatening to withhold their vote in a general election, or worse, vote for likely Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
A number of Republican figures are jumping ship now that Trump is at the helm. Mark Salter, a former adviser to Senator John McCain, declared his support for Clinton as he took a shot at Trump, CNN reported. He tweeted: "The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it's on the level. I'm with her." Salter is hardly the only Republican expressing new support for the former secretary of state.
According to Vox, RedState blog editor Ben Howe tweeted he was "no longer a Republican" and declared "ImWithHer," using the hashtag favoured by Clinton's supporters. Philip Klein, the managing editor of the conservative publication Washington Examiner, went a step further and "officially de-registered" from the Republican party.
Others, like Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, also plan to break rank and not vote for Trump in the general election. However, Baker made it clear he will not support Clinton either. "The things he said about women and Muslims and religious freedom, I just can't support," Baker told reporters, according to boston.com. "At the same time, I do believe Secretary Clinton has a huge believability problem." He called Trump's presumptive nomination "disappointing".
Rogue Republican leaders is just one of the problems Trump will now face. According to The Independent, Trump acknowledged he might have to begin taking more donations after spending about $44m of his own money. "I do love self-funding," he said, but noted the limits to his own wealth. "Do I want to sell a couple buildings? I don't really want to do that."
Trump, however, does not appear to be too concerned about the discord among members of his party or his chances of winning in November. "I am confident I can unite much of the party," he told NBC. "Those people can go away and maybe come back in high years after we served two terms. Honestly, there are some people I really don't want."