Republican officials are so angry at Donald Trump and his imploding campaign that they’re considering replacing him at the top of the ticket just two weeks after nominating him.
The GOP nominee angered party officials by refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain in their primary races, repeatedly insulting a Gold Star family, joking about receiving a Purple Heart and removing a noisy baby from a campaign rally — all in about four hours Tuesday afternoon.
Jon Karl, the chief White House correspondent for ABC News, reported Wednesday morning that Republican officials were scrambling to plan for the possibility that Trump might suddenly quit the presidential race.
“This is absolutely unprecedented,” Karl reported. “First of all, I am told RNC chairman Reince Priebus is furious, that he has had multiple discussions with Trump telling him he needs to drastically change course. But here’s the news, I am told senior officials at the party are actively exploring what would happen if Trump dropped out, how to replace him on the ballot.”
Karl said the Republican Party could not force Trump out of the race now that he’s their nominee, but he might solve their problem by dropping out.
“He would have to go out voluntarily, then it would be the 168 members of the RNC, through a complicated process, that would pick a new candidate,” Karl said. “It would have to happen by early September.”
A stunned George Stephanopoulos, the Good Morning America host, asked if that was a real possibility.
“He is so unpredictable right now, they are so unable to control his message, that they just don’t know and clearly think it is a possibility, which is why they’re looking at these rules,” Karl said.
Despite of all that, Trump remains within “shouting distance” of Hillary Clinton — which Karl said only made Republicans angrier at his unforced errors.
“I have to say the frustration is especially deep because they believe that Hillary Clinton looks vulnerable, exactly as (ABC News political analyst) Matthew (Dowd) said, and had a bad few days, the DNC has gone through a whole shake-up,” Karl said. “She misstated what that director said about her emails. One top official told me if Trump had gone on vacation for the past two weeks, he would be in the lead. But, yes, he can still raise money and still has support among the Republican rank-and-file.”