U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Trump Touts ‘Unity’ as Party Leaders Panic

Trump draws new Republican scrutiny and panic.

Why Donald Trump’s ‘Not There Yet’ on Endorsing Paul Ryan

Donald Trump greeted the day by letting the world know -- via Tweet -- that his campaign has “great unity, perhaps greater than ever before.”

  • Meanwhile, a competing vortex of TV morning news shows, social media feeds and front pages depicted a Republican Party in chaos, including anonymously sourced reports of Trump camp despair and speculation that GOP leaders might ask their presidential nominee to drop out of the race
    • “I can’t remember a time when we’ve seen this kind of discord within a party or this kind of disconnect within a party,” Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report, said in an interview
  • The latest sources of Trump-GOP tension include the billionaire’s refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican, and two other prominent Senate Republicans -- Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte -- in their upcoming GOP primary races
  • Read full story by Bloomberg’s Billy House here
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, a Republican who once ran for gov. of Calif., has thrown her support to Hillary Clinton, adding a prominent Silicon Valley name to the list of executives pushing back against Donald Trump’s candidacy; read story by Bloomberg’s Brian Womack here
  • RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has told Trump that party leaders and donors are frustrated with his performance, CNN reported
  • Only a handful of ~50 GOP candidates in competitive House races say they will campaign with Trump, Politico reported
  • Top Republican officials are exploring how to replace Trump should he abandon his bid for the White House, according to ABC News; and Priebus, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani are planning an intervention with Trump in hopes of pressing “reset” on the campaign, NBC News said
  • NBC this morning also outlined Trump's comments over the last 24 hours that are adding to GOP establishment nervousness 
  • Trump ally Gingrich told Fox Business Trump has been “self-destructive” to his campaign over the last wk
  • Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told Fox News he knows nothing about an intervention and dismissed reports of internal discord
    • “The campaign is in very good shape,” he said. “We are organized”; See full story by Bloomberg’s Ben Brody here
  • Manafort refuted an allegation made earlier today by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough about Trump’s interest in nuclear arms
    • Scarborough said in a briefing with unidentified foreign policy expert several mos. ago, Trump asked three times why the U.S. couldn’t use nuclear weapons
    • “It’s absolutely not true,” Manafort said
  • Washington Examiner’s Byron York said on Fox News that while Trump’s opponents have “fantasized” he will drop out of presidential race on his own, there’s no evidence suggesting it’s likely to happen

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FUNDRAISING

  • Trump’s battle with GOP establishment doesn’t seem to be hurting his coffers; he raised $80 million for his campaign and party last month; read full story by Bloomberg’s Ben Brody here
    • Trump’s chief fundraiser, Steven Mnuchin, told CNBC the money -- $64 million of which came from small-dollar donations -- shows “incredible ground support” for GOP nominee
    • By comparison, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney raised $101 million in July of 2012
    • Mnuchin insists campaign isn’t concerned about Trump’s lag behind Clinton, who raised $90 million in July
    • Clinton camp has been fundraising for over 10 years while Trump’s been raising for just 2 months, he said
    • On reports the Trump campaign is unraveling, Mnuchin said the media is “making up” the alleged turmoil and that there is much excitement around the billionaire politician’s White House bid

ON THE TRAIL

  • Trump holds a town hall and rally in Fla. today; Clinton is in Colo., where she has a rally and fundraisers
  • Clinton also visited The Knotty Tie Company in Denver, a local business that designs and manufactures ties and scarves by hand; Clinton has been critical of Trump for making products overseas
  • On that front, she is releasing new ad that features footage of former late-night TV host David Letterman confronting Trump about his products being made in Bangladesh and China, The Week reported
    • Clinton and her allies are set for TV ad blitz of almost $100 million dollars, compared to less than $1 million currently reserved on the airwaves by backers of Trump, according to NBC News

TRUMP VS GOP INCUMBENTS

  • The ultimate effect of Trump’s refusal to endorse Ryan, McCain and Ayotte in their GOP primary races is uncertain, analyst Gonzales says
    • “I’m not convinced voters are taking their cues from Donald Trump,” he said. “Right now, Trump is viewed as his own character in this play”
  • Gonzales said he’d be surprised if Ryan loses his primary battle next week in Wisc,; and while McCain faces bigger test on Aug. 30 in the Ariz. primary, he’s also likely to emerge as state’s GOP Senate nominee
  • Ayotte’s Republican primary in N.H. on Sept. 13 isn’t as competitive as McCain’s, though could be an “evolving situation” if her GOP challenger, former N.H. state Sen. Jim Rubens, “can capitalize on the Trump factor,” Gonzales said
  • Trump told the Washington Post Ayotte hasn’t done anything to support him, a claim that could help her fight off an attempt by Democratic rival, N.H. Gov. Maggie Hassan, to link Ayotte to Trump: Gonzales
  • One possible overall result of Trump being the GOP standard bearer could be a depressed turnout among Republicans on Election Day
    • If the “Never Trump” crowd doesn’t vote at all, it may hurt vulnerable Republicans in House and Senate races, Gonzales said
  • He currently predicts Democrats will win three to six Senate seats in November; if they gain four seats plus the White House, Democrats will once again have effective control of chamber now led by GOP; they need five to gain a Senate majority, regardless of who wins the presidency
    • Democratic prospects of winning U.S. House control remain dim, though it can’t be ruled out, he said

PAUL RYAN

  • Trump may not be ready to back Ryan, but his running mate Mike Pence told Fox News he “strongly” supports the House speaker’s re-election bid
    • Pence said Trump “strongly encouraged” him to endorse Ryan in his Aug. 9 primary against pro-Trump businessman Paul Nehlen, who in statement charged Ryan is a “soulless globalist” who’s “betrayed” Trump and conservatives on trade and fiscal policy
    • Ryan had $9.6 million in campaign cash-on-hand July 20 and raised >$100k on Aug. 1 from donors including Lockheed Martin, Cigna, Toyota PACs
    • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Trump 51%-32% in Ryan’s southeastern district in Wis. presidential primary
  • NOTE: For Pence, it’s second time this week he’s tried to tamp down Trump’s comments; he also tried to ease tension over billionaire’s remarks about a slain U.S. soldier’s Muslim parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan; see full story by Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli here
  • Barry Burden, a political science professor at University of Wisconsin, said on the surface Ryan doesn’t look like he’s in danger of losing his GOP primary race against Tea Party-backed Nehlen
    • Still, the Republican Party is turbulent and not “well defined this year,” Burden said in an interview. “Nehlen is hitting on two issues -- immigration and trade -- that have a visceral appeal with many voters. He has support from some high profile conservatives, including Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin”
    • Nehlen seeks an upset like the one that removed former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor from office when he lost the Virginia Republican primary to economics professor Dave Brat in June 2014, a shock to the political establishment in Washington
  • As far as the presidential race, Burden said it’s unlikely Trump will win Wisconsin in November
    • “Neither the Republican convention nor his actions this week are doing much to improve his chances,” he said. “His campaign will need to invest in the state and bring some state GOP leaders on board to have a shot”

ENDORSEMENTS/NON ENDORSEMENTS

  • Retiring NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC he doesn’t think Trump is fit to lead
  • Though he didn’t mention Trump by name, former President George W. Bush criticized policies of “isolationism, nativism and protectionism” at a fundraiser for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the Wall Street Journal reported

POLLS

  • Trump’s response to the Khan family was inappropriate, 59% of registered voters said in a Morning Consult tracking poll

ETC

  • The commander in Iraq of Khan’s late son, Capt. Humayun Khan, wrote an op-ed in Washington Post; read it here
  • Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as CIA director under former President George W. Bush, told MSNBC he may not vote this year because he doesn’t think Trump can do anything to win his support and he’s not prepared to back Clinton
  • Hayden also discusses his concerns about Trump’s “erratic” behavior and how it could effect U.S.’s global relations
  • Both Trump and Clinton may now receive intelligence briefings, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters today, saying White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough called both campaigns to tell them briefings are available
    • See full story by Bloomberg’s Angela Greiling Keane here
  • U.S. officials are weighing whether to designate elections as national critical infrastructure after recent hacking attacks on political groups, a move that would open up federal assistance to election officers around the country, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said; see full story by Bloomberg’s Chris Strohm here

CONGRESSIONAL RACES

  • FL-SEN: Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in statement said he won’t debate Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson because Grayson’s presence in race is “an insult to the countless Floridians whose lives have been affected” by domestic abuse
    • Grayson lost endorsements from two liberal groups after Politico article last week detailed allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife; Grayson has denied wrongdoing
    • White House backs Murphy in Aug. 30 primary; Sen. Marco Rubio and homebuilder Carlos Beruff seeking GOP nomination
  • LA-SEN: Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy said that “Obamacare sucks” and “can’t be fixed,” according to The Advocate report on Louisiana Association of Health Plans forum that also included GOP Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming, Democrat Foster Campbell and four other candidates
    • Voters on Nov. 8 will choose among 24 candidates of all political affiliations; if no candidate wins a majority of the vote, top two finishers will compete in Dec. 10 runoff to replace retiring Republican Sen. David Vitter
  • MO-SEN: Republican Sen. Roy Blunt released TV ads that link Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander to Obama and Clinton and attack his tenure as chief election official in Mo.
    • Blunt won GOP primary yday with 73% of vote over three opponents; Kander won Democratic primary with 70% against three opponents
  • OH-SEN: Republican Sen. Rob Portman announced endorsement from a local branch of International Union of Operating Engineers, which joins United Mine Workers of America and Ohio Conference of Teamsters in backing him over Democratic ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, AP reported
    • Strickland’s campaign said he has most union endorsements and that IUOE Local 18 has a history of backing Republicans
  • PA-SEN: Independence USA PAC, a super-PAC funded by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, released TV ad praising Republican Sen. Pat Toomey for having “crossed party lines” on proposals that would expand gun-background checks and curb gun sales to suspected terrorists
    • Toomey opposed by Democrat Katie McGinty
    • NOTE: Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News
  • WI-SEN: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson released TV ad attacking Democratic ex-Sen. Russ Feingold as a “career politician” with a weak record on anti-terrorism policy
    • Johnson is chairman of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Cmte
  • FL-23: Democrat Tim Canova in TV ad says he’s committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare and increasing assistance to needy seniors and the disabled
    • Ad also attacks ex-DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for missing votes and says she “refuses to support an increase in benefits"; the latter attack refers to Wasserman Schultz not being among three dozen co-sponsors of bill that would expand Supplemental Security Income program
    • Primary is Aug. 30 in southeastern district that is strongly Democratic
  • MN-07: Republicans appear to be ‘‘waving a big white flag’’ in race against Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in rural, Republican-leaning western district he’s held since 1991, MinnPost reported
    • Republicans Amanda Hinson and David Hughes running in Aug. 9 primary to oppose Peterson; Hinson raised just $22k and Hughes <$8k through July 20, according to most recent FEC reports
    • Peterson re-elected 54%-46% in 2014 against Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom in district that Mitt Romney won 54%-44% in 2012; Peterson is among just five House Democrats from districts Obama didn’t win that yr
  • WI-08: Republican Mike Gallagher released TV ad featuring praise from individual voters in competitive northeastern district, including De Pere woman who said the Marine Corps veteran ‘‘is not a politician, and thank God for that”
    • Republican state Sen. Frank Lasee’s campaign released TV ad touting his work on Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to restrict collective bargaining; spot also links Gallagher to “Washington, D.C. insider money”
    • Gallagher, Lasee and Terry McNulty running in primary; winner to face Democrat Tom Nelson, the Outagamie County executive, for seat of retiring Republican Reid Ribble
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