Last week, when Donald Trump decided to enact his keenly timed revenge on House Speaker Paul Ryan, who Trump's begrudged for his delayed and hesitant endorsement, refusing to offer his reciprocal endorsement days before Ryan faced re-election, instead offering up complimentary words for Ryan's primary challenger, RNC chair Reince Priebus reportedly went into full panic mode.
Priebus, who was on vacation, called the GOP presidential nominee and threatened to pull resources away from the candidate in favor of down-ballot races, according to a new report in Time. Trump eventually went on to endorsed Ryan, only a few days before his primary on Tuesday.
But after the RNC's communications director denied the report of the RNC "reallocating resources" away from Trump, more than a dozen prominent Republicans issued a letter asking the organization to do just that.
The letter, released Thursday, lists a series of actions by the GOP nominee that the more than 70 signatories believe have "alienated millions of voters of all parties,” including his attacks on a Gold Star family.
“Those recent outrages have built on his campaign of anger and exclusion, during which he has mocked and offended millions of voters, including the disabled, women, Muslims, immigrants, and minorities,” the letter states. “He also has shown dangerous authoritarian tendencies, including threats to ban an entire religion from entering the country, order the military to break the law by torturing prisoners, kill the families of suspected terrorists, track law-abiding Muslim citizens in databases, and use executive orders to implement other illegal and unconstitutional measures.”
Republican Andrew Weinstein, who served as director of media relations for the Dole/Kemp presidential campaign and was deputy press secretary to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, told Politico that the letter is coming from “People who want the party to protect its majorities in the Senate and the House. It’s not an endorsement of anybody.” Some of the former GOP officials who have signed the letter include:
Former Sen. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire and former Reps. Chris Shays of Connecticut, Tom Coleman of Missouri and Vin Weber of Minnesota.
Close to 20 of the co-signers are former RNC staffers, including Mindy Finn (former RNC chief digital strategist), Christine Iverson Gunderson (former RNC press secretary), Virginia Hume Onufer (former RNC deputy press secretary), Beth Miller (former RNC field communications division director), Heather Layman (former deputy press secretary), B. Jay Cooper (former RNC communications director under four chairmen) and Patrick Ruffini (former RNC ecampaign director).
“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck,” the Republicans write.
“This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day.”
Thursday's anti-Trump letter comes on the heels of a report that at least eight staffers have quit the RNC in recent weeks over Trump's campaign.
“Personally I wasn’t comfortable working to elect him,” one staffer told Politico:
In recent months, deputy press secretary James Hewitt, spokesman Fred Brown, director of Hispanic media Ruth Guerra, and research analysts Lars Trautman and Colin Spence have all left the RNC with Trump as one of the reasons for their resignations, according to sources familiar with their decisions. At least three other staff members have also left the RNC with opposition to Trump as a contributing factor, according to multiple sources.
According to Politico, a total of 11 staffers have left the RNC since March.
On Monday, 50 top Republican national security officials issued a scathing letter denouncing Trump's candidacy and calling him a "risk" to America's national security.
Asked about the recent reports of RNC defections amid an apparent campaign meltdown, Trump pointed out that his fundraising agreement with the RNC has greatly benefitted the party.
"Why would they state that when I'm raising millions of dollars for them?" he asked Time.