Donald Trump has started punishing top Republicans who don’t back him, making clear they need to fall in line or face dire consequences.
His loyalists and GOP voters angry with their party approve, but Republican insiders worry that it will make unity more difficult.
The issue flared when Trump rebuked Gov. Susana Martinez, of New Mexico, at a recent campaign rally in Albuquerque. It was payback for Martinez criticizing Trump and refusing to share a stage with him.
Republican officials were horrified that Trump would attack on the governor’s home turf, a Democratic-leaning state that she has won twice. They wondered: How does that help you win the White House?
epublicans fear that Trump, once officially head of the party, may walk into Republican National Committee headquarters and order officials to abandon any GOP candidate who doesn’t kowtow to their new leader.
Trump spurned an opportunity to be reassuring, saying Tuesday: “You think I’m going to change? I’m not changing.”
“If I have a Republican that’s not on my side, I’m not going to — why should I be particularly nice to the person?” Trump added, during a news conference. “Now, politically I may be right, I may be wrong, but that’s who I am. I’m a very honest person … If somebody it’s going to say a little bit negative or a lot negative about me and if they happen to be a Republican, I may choose to hit them back.”
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