At the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting, delegates describe vicious missives demanding they support the GOP front-runner.
First it was an email warning Steve House, the Colorado GOP chairman, to hide his family members and “pray you make it to Cleveland.” Then there was the angry man who called his cellphone and told him to put a gun down his throat.
“He said, ‘I’ll call back in two minutes, and if you’re still there, I’ll come over and help you,’” House recalled.
Since Donald Trump came up empty in his quest for delegates at the Republican state assembly in Colorado Springs nearly two weeks ago, his angry supporters have responded to Trump’s own claims of a “rigged” nomination process by lashing out at Republican National Committee delegates that they believe won’t support Trump at the party’s convention — including House.
Trump’s campaign has never explicitly encouraged violence. But it has promoted tactics that have contributed to delegates’ fear. Earlier in April, a top Trump adviser posted online the cellphone number of Tennessee state party chairman Ryan Haynes, along with a message accusing the state party of trying to “STEAL your vote TODAY.”
Haynes told POLITICO at the time that he nearly canceled the party’s delegate selection meeting after a barrage of vitriol and the specter of violence.
The fears expressed by party leaders are bubbling up at a time Trump is facing internal pressure to rein in his confrontational inclinations too. Paul Manafort, Trump’s GOP convention chief, who is in Florida to attend the RNC meetings and assuage the concerns of the GOP establishment, has encouraged the candidate to temper his bombast.
It’s a noticeable shift away from the slash-and-burn approach of Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who some party insiders blame for cultivating, or at least enabling, Trump’s brasher tendencies. One state party leader, who requested anonymity, described the intimidation tactics coming from Trump supporters as part of “Corey culture.”
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